Athletic 0-2 Real Madrid: match summary
Real Madrid secured a 12th Spanish Super Cup at the expense of defending champions Athletic in Riyadh, extending their recent hegemony over the Lions to foreign soil after doing a double over Marcelino’s side in LaLiga in December. As was the case in those two games, which ended 1-0 and 2-1 to Ancelotti’s leaders,
Athletic gave as good as they got but lacked a clinical edge in front of goal and ultimately fell short due to a chronic inability to put the ball in the back of the net.
In 21 Liga games this season, Marcelino’s side have scored 20, fewer than any side in the top 10 and rock-bottom Levante. They have also only conceded 17, but Marcelino’s tactic of keeping Madrid at bay and looking to hit on the counter was always risky against
the form of Karim Benzema, Vinicius and Luka Modric.
The Croatian midfielder, who seems to be able to control the ball and the game to the extent that everything around him slows to his advantage, put in another vintage performance capped with a wonderful first-half finish from a swift Madrid move
, starting at the feet of Courtois and ending with Unai Simón grasping thin air. Marcelino reacted quickly, sending out Nico Williams, who was on target in the semi-final against Atlético, after the break but the Athletic manager’s plans were scuppered when
Yeray Álvarez was penalized for handball shortly after the restart. The fact that David Alaba had committed a similar error in the Madrid penalty area in the first half did not escape Marcelino, whose objections were noted in the referee’s book.
Benzema duly dispatched the penalty and from there it was always going to be an uphill struggle for a side who are barely on speaking terms with the scoreboard.
Athletic improved considerably on the back of a Marcelino triple change with Raúl García and Nico Williams combining several times to keep Courtois interested. The Lions would have been worth at least one goal for their efforts and seemed destined to test Madrid’s mettle in the home straight when
Éder Militão took one for the team by throwing an arm at a ball in the area.
However, Thibaut Courtois apparently held little truck with the idea of inviting an onslaught and potential extra time by
pulling off a remarkable save from García’s decently hit penalty, extending his trailing leg skywards to deflect the effort.
From there, Athletic kept the pressure on Madrid, who shored up by sending on Nacho, but
even the indomitable Lions must have felt that it was not to be their night after Courtois’ heroics. With little left on the clock, Madrid played for time and kept Marcelino’s side at bay for the remaining few minutes, to seal what is Ancelotti’s fifth different title with Madrid.
The Italian now lacks only LaLiga, and that seems to be purely a matter of time as well.
Source : https://en.as.com/en/2022/01/16/soccer/1642351266_650180.html561