BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 23: Angel Di Maria of Real Madrid CF scores his team's second 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)
The press this morning are agreed. A lucky Real Madrid are still in with a chance thanks to an error by Victor Valdés in a match that was dull and scoreless in the first half but livened up considerably in the second.
ABC: El partido se fue al descanso con muy poco cuerpo y nada de alma.
The match went into the break with little body or soul, notes ABC. No shots on target for Barcelona. No shots of any kind from Madrid. But then a previously invisible Cristiano Ronaldo scored in the second half and the game really began.
The paper then makes an observation that all news reports have made this morning: Madrid are fortunate that Valdés's clumsy attempt at a clearance found its way to the feet of Di María.
The paper also notes that Pedro's goal was offside.
Our friends at El Mundo Deportivo are, as usual, obsessed with possession statistics - though they quote figures not to be found elsewhere - 80% vs 20%. The paper's rundown of the match places special emphasis on the following: the number of goals Madrid scores against Barcelona from corners "like the one Ronaldo headed in from Özil..." One can't help the feeling that the writers feel this is a dishonest way to score a goal.
They place the blame, after a lengthy article on Barcelona's "dominance", on Valdés.
Madrid-based Marca, as is their wont, are rather more positive on aspects of Madrid's game. "A dull first half and a frantic second," notes the blurb. "Real Madrid had their chances and at times proved to be an irresistible force on the counter-attack."
Madrid scored no goals on the counter-attack, of course, but this does not seem to trouble Marca's reading of events.
Sid Lowe of The Guardian filed his match report from the Camp Nou.
But in the blink of an eye, it was 3-2. Victor Valdés collected a simple back bass and saw Di María running at him. He tried to dribble past the Argentinian. Instead, he lost control, lost his balance and lost the ball. Barcelona lost a huge advantage. They had dominated, even if it did take a Cristiano Ronaldo header to finally bring goals to a fascinating game and to give Barcelona the incisiveness that their precision had previously lacked.
Gracias Valdés, reads a tweet from the Twitter account of a certain @GUTY14HAZ.
That particular hashtag - #graciasvaldes - was trending for most of the night.
Mourinho made it plain in the post-match that Madrid's defensive play in the first half and more attacking second half was not precisely the game-plan he had in mind.
I didn’t enjoy the first half. Sometimes you play a way you don’t want to. The opponent has the ability to change the game plan you have and Barcelona did that in the first half. They pressed well and didn’t let us play. We defended well and we occupied defensive positions, but Barcelona was better. It might appear as though it was a defensive plan, but it wasn’t and we showed that in the second half, where we played completely differently...
The manager singled out Callejón for special praise, probably to shield him from any criticism: "He did his job and set up the match so that Di María appeared in a different match..."
Finally we hear from our captain., The club website quotes a satisfied Iker Casillas on the subject of his wonderful save on 87 minutes and Di Maria's goal about twenty seconds later.
It was a quick move, and they almost made it 4-1, but that’s football, it changes in seconds and we leave happier with the final result. We’ve gone through different stages in the match. We started well, but then they came back and at 3-1 it looked difficult. Everything changed with the goal from Di María that leaves the tie closer.