Real Madrid heavily outclass Barcelona over two legs to lift the Spanish Supercup. Tonight, they got goals from Asensio and Benzema, and overall thoroughly deserved their triumph. Here’s our quick reaction to this match. Still to come: Player ratings, post-game podcast, tactical review, and post-game quotes.
Well, that was fun, in so many different ways. I watched this game with my father, and both of us sat there at half-time trying to figure out when was the last time we felt there was a powershift like this in a Clasico for Real Madrid — it may have been 2001! Real madrid has had matches where they’ve outplayed Barcelona in the past, but these two legs have been a special kind of waxing.
There were a lot of fun wrinkles in this game, even if the second half was a bit subdued relative to the chaos of the first half, and the preceding second half of the second leg. Without Ronaldo, Isco, Bale, and Casemiro; Real Madrid steamrolled Barcelona for the first 45 minutes. Zidane implemented one of the most cohesive high-presses we’ve seen in his reign. It was so good, it took Barcelona 11 minutes to build-up their first spell of possession in Real Madrid’s half.
There were moments, to be sure, where Barcelona pinned Real Madrid deep, but the incredible ball-carrying ability of Kovacic, the movement without the ball of Kroos and Modric, the blitzing, cutting runs from Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio, and the distribution down the wings from Marcelo enabled Zidane’s men to escape tight situations as if they were playing in slow motion.
Somewhere between Asensio’s outrageous long-range bomb and Karim Benzema’s pouncing finish to make it 2-0, Real Madrid were flicking the ball around with a dose of superfluousness fun — solely because they could. Let’s put it this way: If this was a game of FIFA, and you were playing as Barcelona, you would have rage-quit long before the second half started.
Real Madrid won this tie convincingly, 5-1 on aggregate, and they did it by going into several different gears when the ocassion required them to. This team, at this point, is insultingly good and deep. We still have yet to see Vallejo and Llorente; while only taking in minuscule doses of Ceballos and Theo. Oh, and, Ronaldo played just 25 minutes over the course of two legs.
Here are some miscellaneous notes:
- Keylor Navas had one nervy gamble on a set-piece which Suarez failed to convert. Outside of that, he made several key saves.
- Karim Benzema’s effort without the ball — his press, ball retention both high and deep on the pitch — was outstanding.
- Barcelona really struggled with dealing with the runs from Vazquez and Asensio on the flanks, and Marcelo was picking them out both masterfully. Jordi Alba just had no proper coverage from Andre Gomes, and Barcelona’s defense went into collapse mode with every one of those carving runs.
- Really enjoyed Lucas Vazquez’s presence as a traditional two-way winger. He found space and was dangerous all night. I would have liked to see Bale come in the second half to see what he could have done in a similar situation with Barcelona pushing up more, but it’s clear Zidane is saving him for Depor.
- Kovacic and Varane, outstanding again
- Theo, it’s a cross, not a field goal!