Real Madrid 2 - 0 Barcelona: as it happened, goals, match report
If the momentum shift from the Catalan coast to the Spanish capital was not complete before this evening, it certainly is now. Real Madrid strolled to their second trophy of the season with victory over a limp Barcelona side at the Bernabéu.
Coming in to the match with a 3-1 advantage from an eventful first leg at Camp Nou, Marco Asensio bent a sumptuous shot in to the top corner to open the scoring after four minutes. Karim Benzema added another before the break to put the match beyond Barça. The first leg fizzled and delighted. The second was a lower-key affair. Madrid waltzed to victory, adding the Spanish Super Cup to the UEFA Super Cup they collected earlier in the summer. Barcelona trudged, the weight of decline heavy on their shoulders.
Both managers opted to tweak their line-ups from the first leg. Bale, Casemiro, and Isco made way for Modric, Asensio, and Lucas Vázquez. Valverde fashioned a 3-5-2 for Barcelona, with Andre Gomes and Sergi Roberto coming in to the midfield.
Marco Asensio rounded off the victory at Camp Nou with a sensational left-footed effort. He started off the victory at the Bernabéu with another swish of his left boot. Space opened up just outside the box, and he arced the ball in to the top corner. Ter Stegen was rooted to the spot, deceived by the last-second dip on the ball. Barça’s shoulder’s dropped. Neymar was the architect of their fabled comeback against PSG. But he has walked the red carpet to the team he put to the sword, and Barcelona, bereft, are looking anxiously to the transfer market to fill the void.
Real Madrid were rampant. Lucas Vázquez hit the post after 33 minutes, and five minutes after that, Benzema doubled the home side’s lead. The Frenchman took advantage of flat-footed defending from Samuel Umtiti to meet Marcelo’s low cross at the far post, tee himself up, and finish on the spin.
As the first half turned to the second half, Wednesday turned to Thursday in Madrid. Yet Barcelona have gone back in time. Not for 15 years have Barcelona been so far behind Los Blancos, and it feels like they have further to fall. Key players at Camp Nou are creeping in to their thirties. The young Spanish talent that they should have bought to smooth the transition, Asensio, Ceballos, Theo, are all on the other side.
Barça rallied in the second half as Valverde switched to 4-4-2, and then to 4-3-3. Messi hit the underside of the bar, and Suárez shaved the post with a diving header. The visitors came close, but they were up against a Madrid side playing in second gear.
The 2017 Spanish Super Cup has been a clash between two teams on opposite trajectories. Madrid are in their stride, with two trophies in the cabinet before the end of August. Barcelona are clinging on to the cracks in the foundations of what made them great.