It took 30 minutes and nine penalties longer than Real Madrid fans might have liked, but the reigning LaLiga champions will defend their Supercopa de España crown in the final on Sunday after beating Valencia in a penalty shoot-out.
Los Blancos came into this tournament after beating Athletic Club in last season’s final and needed a perfect record from the spot, both in-game and in the shoot-out, as Thibaut Courtois denied Valencia captain José Luis Gayà to end the match.
Here are three stats which help to explain the match.
December 28th, 1982: The last time Real Madrid missed a penalty in the Supercopa
Real Madrid have now taken part in two shoot-outs (this one vs Valencia and the 2021 final vs Atlético Madrid) without missing a single one of their attempts on goal. They’ve also had a superb in-game record too.
Karim Benzema has now scored two penalties in the tournament within the 90 minutes, while Ruud van Nistelrooy scored, also against Valencia, in 2008. The last man to miss from the spot was John Metgod in a 4-0 defeat to Real Sociedad way back in 1982.
That superb record means that Real Madrid have now scored 13 consecutive spot-kicks in the Supercopa since missing the first one that they were awarded. That’s a record that Carlo Ancelotti will be hoping to maintain.
With three penalty shoot-outs in Supercopa de España history, this was also Real Madrid’s second involvement to maintain their 100% success rate. The confidence that oozed from the players in white as they stepped up was clear, and none of Benzema, Luka Modrić, Toni Kroos or Marco Asensio went wrong.
117: Toni Kroos two times more passes than 25 of the 32 players to take to the pitch
That Toni Kroos is the passing master is not news to anyone, but against Valencia he put on yet another exhibition which continued to show just what the German engine is capable of in the Real Madrid.
With 117 completed passes, a 96% completion rate from 122 attempted passes, Toni Kroos completed 26 passes more than the next highest of any player on the field (André Almeida of Valencia, who completed 91), and was twice more than 25 of the 32 players to take to the pitch.
Only Antonio Rüdiger, Nacho Fernández and Fede Valverde, with 90, 81 and 69 completed passes respectively, managed more than half of Kroos’ overall figure across the 120 minutes.
Kroos created two chances and played 18 passes into the final third and was instrumental throughout Real Madrid’s build-up play, as he always is, with his vision from midfield. Despite the introduction of Modrić at half-time, he continued to boss the game and Valencia struggled to get a grip on the German.
Ancelotti is no stranger to the importance and influence of Kroos, but to produce such a dominant display again showed that he has come back from the World Cup break in superb shape and ready to maintain the momentum that he took into the winter pause after a strong start to the campaign.
5: Consecutive Supercopa games scoring for Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema became the first man to score in five consecutive Supercopa fixtures since Lionel Messi in 2012 when he scored from the spot to give Real Madrid the lead, also stepping up to joint-third place in the all-time goalscoring rankings for the competition.
His strike puts him level with Txiki Begiristain and Hristo Stoichkov on six goals each, behind Raúl as the leading Real Madrid scorer on seven and behind Messi who has notched 14 goals in 20 games in the tournament.
This is Benzema’s sixth participation in the Supercopa, with this game against Valencia being his 12th appearance. The last time he failed to score in a Spanish Supercopa game was in August 2017 at Camp Nou in a 3-1 win in which he played just under an hour.
It was also his second penalty in the Supercopa, with the first having come in the 2022 win over Athletic Club, when Benzema stepped up to beat Unai Simón from the penalty spot to make it 2-0 in last season’s final.