BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 23: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF scores the opening goal during the Super Cup first leg match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou on August 23, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Real Madrid fans will never know how different the game would have been with Pepe on the field. It's true that it's not ethical to make excuses, but the Portuguese defender is that good. It's not Albiol's fault --as a matter of fact, he played fairly well-- but the team could have defended 10 meters ahead instead of waiting for Barcelona to attack.
This Real Madrid reminded me of the one that Mourinho used to coach in his first year with the club. Although there was no three-man midfield, José Callejón ended up playing beside Khedira and Alonso. The Spanish winger doesn't have Di María's speed or quality either, but he also performed well.
In the end, the team managed to get a valuable 3-2 final score, thanks to a late mistake by Víctor Valdés, so the Supercup winner will depend on whether Mourinho's team is able to beat Barcelona in the Santiago Bernabéu.
The former Benfica defender started the game instead of Marcelo and completed a very good one. He stopped most of Barcelona's pressure through the right wing and tried to help the team offensively without much success.
Özil was Real Madrid's worst player on the pitch today. Mourinho needs to figure out what to do with the German playmaker, since he doesn't ever seem fit enough to play a full game with intensity. Furthermore, he didn't help Real Madrid's offense whatsoever, something Karim Benzema did manage to do. Benzema made the best of every ball he received and also helped the defensive midfielders to contain Barcelona's passing game.
Shortly after Barcelona scored its first goal, Sergio Ramos tackled Andrés Iniesta inside the penalty box. It was a very silly mistake from the Spanish defender and probably caused by a lack of concentration, something he usually experiences in these sort of games. Messi didn't miss from the penalty spot and put Barcelona ahead, and once again, seven minutes later, Iniesta assisted Xavi to make it 3-1. Andrés Iniesta was arguably Barcelona's best man today and showed he is in better shape than any Real Madrid man at this point in time.
But it could have ended worse if it weren't for Casillas, who saved a clear chance from Messi in the 84th minute and allowed Real Madrid to enjoy a counter attack that ended up with Valdés losing the ball right in front of Di María, who just had to push the ball inside the net.
Higuaín, Di María and Marcelo were chosen to enter the field for Benzema, Callejón and Özil respectively. None of them offered much, but Di María's pressing is what forced Valdés to make the final mistake that left room for hope.
The good thing is that Pepe will be able to step on the pitch for the second game of this Supercup. Real Madrid really missed his defensive presence at the Camp Nou, and he could bring a very different game to the table.
Who was Madrid's Man of the Match?
Coentrao (63 votes)
Arbeloa (26 votes)
Other (61 votes)
150 total votes