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Immediate Reaction: Valencia 1 - 3 Real Madrid

Real Madrid blow Valencia away in Jeddah


Valencia lose to Real Madrid 1 - 3 (Parejo; Kroos, Isco, Modric). Here’s our quick reaction. Still to come: Player ratings, tactical review, post-game podcast, and more.

A short-handed Real Madrid, in front of an underwhelming number of people at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, completely dismantled and cooked Valencia in the Spanish SuperCopa tonight.

And perhaps Zinedine Zidane stumbled onto something in today’s game. While he lacked Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard, and Gareth Bale; he also had an opportunity to plug the midfield with four of his prized midfielders.

As I noted at half-time on Twitter, I generally enjoy when Zidane rolls out a scheme with more than three central midfield generals. It allows for two things: An plentiful amount of outlets during build-up; and numbers in midfield to counter-press. Valencia were helpless tonight trying to plug holes or escaping their half. Anytime they stumbled upon the ball when Real Madrid lost it, Zidane’s midfield swarmed Valencia and retained possession.

Albert Celades did little to combat this. Valencia were surprisingly tame considering they are a team that historically chugs Michael’s Secret Stuff before they play Real — one of their most hated rivals. Their first real spell of possession came after 10 minutes, and it lasted about 30 seconds — backwards passing to Domenech before losing the ball on a desperate long ball. They treaded water all night.

There weren’t any pure wingers in the line-up tonight for Real Madrid. Instead, Ferland Mendy and Dani Carvajal pushed to give the team width, and had little concern about getting caught. The counter-press was efficient, and Kroos and Casemiro were deep enough to help Ramos and Varane with coverage when needed. The midfield was unsurprisingly asymmetrical. Fede Valverde and Luke Modric spent a lot of time on the right flank, while Isco roamed in a free-roaming role. They all played well.

This was a demolition. It could’ve been more than three goals, it could’ve been less — in the end it didn’t matter much one way or another because this game was about controlling the tempo and defending high up the pitch. Zidane was able to do this through ball domination and counter-pressing. Real Madrid killed Valencia tonight.

Let’s go through the goals really quick:

Toni Kroos


Luka Modric

We’ll break this down in much more detail in the coming hours, and discuss at length the individual performances on tonight’s post-game podcast. Make sure you’re a Patron to get access.

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