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Real Madrid perk up against Valencia


With the attacking trio of Bale-Benzema-Hazard all missing, Zidane opted to go into the semi-final playing with five midfielders and Jovic playing as a lone striker. On one hand this selection process could be interpreted as a warning for both Rodrygo and Vinicius, with both players forced to watch the action from the bench. On the other hand, the starting XI was designed to retain possession of the ball and ensure, a model of tiqui-taca if you like which was designed to frustrate Valencia. This formation was something that Celades had not been banking on as very few times have we witnessed a Valencia side so lacking against Real Madrid, a team who always supply an added motivation with games between both sides always interesting and competitive duels.

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The game really had only one direction and was a comfortable stroll for Madrid. At times Zidane's team reminded me of a handball side, securing the ball, progressing to an offensive position and then embarking on a series of horizontal passes. The opening goal game in the 16th minute after a corner from Kroos caught Jaume Doménech napping and out of position and went straight into the Valencia net. It was the perfect start for the side from the capital who were able to 'free-wheel' and play with less pressure. Isco made it 2-0 on the night shortly before the break and Modric topped off a fine evening with a delightful goal in the 65th minute. Valencia pulled a consolation back in time added on with Parejo firing home from the spot.

Real Madrid XI
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New Super Cup format

So relaxed with proceedings was Zidane that he gave playing time to Marcelo and James in the second half with even Mariano getting an outing as he replaced Jovic. The Serbian international, it has to be said, once again offered little and missed a fine chance as he watched the ball hit the post after an intervention from Doménech. The former Frankfurt forward is down on luck and low in confidence and seems invisible to his team.mates. Zidane is doing all he can to boost his morale level but it's proving complex. This evening we have a Barça-Atleti game to look forward to and I can see this being a much tighter affair. In his pre-game press conference, Simeone availed of the opportunity to try and inspire João Félix with Valverde complaining about the new format of the Super Cup with the Barça coach making it clear that both Madrid clubs didn't belong as neither won the league or domestic cup last season.