Real Madrid 1-2 Athletic Club: Spanish Super Cup result, summary and goals
Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao: how it happened
Bilbao: red and white
Colin shares a wonderful picture from 2015 when Athletic won their second Spanish Super Cup. It had been a wait for silverware of over three decades and the beautiful city celebrated appropriately.
It's a shame we're not going to see scenes like this on Sunday, but the feelings will be just as strong if they can overcome Barça...and they still have a Copa del Rey final against La Real ahead.
The Spanish Super Cup final is set
FC Barcelona, following their win over Real Sociedad last night, could sit back and enjoy this evening's offering. They will now meet in Seville for the final on Sunday.
And we'll be bringing you it live!
Marcelino vs Madrid
Thanks to Pedro for reminding us about the now Athletic manager's record against Los Blancos. Four wins over the years with different sides.
Real Madrid 1-2 Athletic Club: match report
Another very enjoyable semi-final in this year's Spanish Super Cup, one that ended with the Copa del Rey finalists overcoming the Liga champions.
Two first half goals from Raúl García, one from the penalty spot, gave the Lions a big enough lead to hold onto, and despite Karim Benzema pulling one back in the 78th minute, Los Blancos could not find an equaliser.
The bulk of the play was with the capital side but Athletic's approach was to soak up that pressure and apply the press high up the field when they had the chance. Marcelino's tactics, helped by a couple of avoidable mistakes from his opponent, allowed the Basques to create enough opportunities across the 90, Courtois called into action in a couple of key moments.
Peep, peep, peeeeeeep! The whistle blows for the end of the game and Athletic Bilbao are into the final.
Penalty claim for Madrid. Asensio is incensed. Ref plays on but may go back to it.
As the move develops, rather frantically, shooting options are searched for, with the final option falling to Mendy... he blasts over!
Ramos again in the opposition area and gets a glancing header on Mendy's deep cross. Not enough to bother Simon who is happy to collect at walking pace.
Athletic appear to have worked out that they're safer if the ball is as far away from their goal as possible.
Williams first gets some space on the right to cross, well blocked, and then after a little interplay he gets a run on goal down the left. What a tackle from Casemiro to stop him.
We're going to have 6 (SIX) added on minutes
Another yellow. Simon trying to waste time after that Ramos scare.
CLOSE! Sergio Ramos is one of those being thrown forward in a desperate attempt to find a late equaliser.
He is so dangerous with his head and wins the cross well despite being closely martialled. Many thought he'd scored by the effort bounces just wide of the near post.
That was almost a moment of worry for Los Blancos, who are throwing everything at this now, understandably.
Nacho had a bouncing ball to handle in the middle of the park under pressure but headed firmly back to his keeper. Time is running out...
Another booking, this time for Dani García.
Kroos booked as he streches for a ball and fouls his opponent.
The free kick is taken quickly but well dealt with by Madrid's defensive line.
Benzema scores again! But it's disallowed again for offside.
This time the VAR team won't need to get involved, except maybe whispering to the man in the middle that it was clear.
SAVE! And what a save that was from Courtois!
Villalibre is just on and he is released into acres of space down the left channel, running at the Belgian. He clips the ball delightfully over the keeper but a big hand is raised and stops the ball heading further goalwards.
Double change: Balenziaga and Raul Garcia off, Villalibre and Morcillo on.
There's an extra spring immediately in the step of the Madrid players. You also get the sense that the Athletic lads are thinking the worst.
Nacho there getting forward and delivering a lovely cross into the danger area, which is flicked away just before Benzema meets it.
Benzema has the ball in the net but it's been ruled off for offside. VAR checking.
From here it looked very, very close!
Benzema has the ball in the net but it's been ruled off for offside. VAR checking.
From here it looked very, very close!
Madrid players are not always making this easy for themselves. Vázquez wins a free kick in his right back area but takes it short to Nacho who has few options and plenty of pressure from García.
Muniain tried to run that injury off but to no avail. Berenguer trots on to replace him.
BOOM! Another Asensio cracker off his left peg. Yet again it hits the woodwork, this time the bar as Simon reaches up nearby.
Marcelino changes: Vesga and Lekue on for Vencedor and Capa
Zidane makes his changes: Valverde and Vini on for Modric and Hazard
Play is stopped as Muniain receives some treatment. Not sure if he's going to have to go off.
This feels very much like the first 45. Madrid's pressure growing, better chances arriving...but who will make it count?
CLANG! Kroos to Hazard to Asensio, a neat triangular play cuts the Athletic' defence to shreds but the latter's effort fires back off the inside of the post and is cleared away to safety.
Simon watched on and then let off a big sigh of relief.
Hazard and Asensio coming more central as they try to mix things up. Benzema always gets on the end of a cross.
Next goal just a tad important.
Courtois continues with the keep-ball philosophy from the goal kicks.
The defenders are immediately swamped and Athletic win the ball back from the pressure applied. Marcelino will be pleased with that.
SO CLOSE! Asensio collects from Casemiro in that position where his left-foot wand can do so much damage.
It curls, it dips, but not enough, and clips to top of the bar.
Capa gets his name scribbled down by Martinez Munuera afer a foul on Vázquez.
CLOSE!! Madrid have the bulk of the play but it's their opponents who almost go three up.
A cross to the near post from the right by De Marcos is met by the head of Muniain and most watching were sure it was a goal. Just wide.
It's the Belgian winger again getting things going. He moves the play inside to Modric, and he in turn to the overlapping Vázquez whose cross is too high.
The Spaniard will be keen to make amends for a disappointing first half.
Hazard trying to get more involved, starting this half on the left. Just not able to find the space.
Madrid again looking to build, in what could be a similar pattern to the first half.
Athletic well drilled and holding them at arms length.
Nacho has replaced Varane at the start of the second half.
And we're off!
Right, the teams are out...
Phew! What a half that was.
From the first minute it was clear that Marcelino's troops were going to try to make it an uncomfortable evening for the league champions, and they pressed all the way to Courtois' six-yard area. But not erratically, it was well coordinated.
That said, after some early sparring, it was Los Blancos that started to dictate their Basque opponents.
The openings were coming for Zidane's side, but his firing squad was, once again, shooting blanks. Modric, Asensio, Benzema and Hazard all got into decent postions but either didn't connect, or made the wrong decision.
And Athletic took full advantage of it...
A loose ball from Lucas Vázquez was picked up by Vencedor and his pass forward, whether intentional or not, was latched onto by Raúl García and finished. Another error from the makeshift full-back, a clumsy foul, gave away the spot kick, and García made no mistake.
Frankly speaking, with Madrid's scoring problems, this is now a big ask.
Peeeeep! The half time whistle blows and some wise words from the managers await.
Williams in on goal and attempts to dink it over the onrushing Courtois who sticks up a hand to block. Great run, great save...neither really matter as the Spaniard was offside.
One minute to be added.
Kroos has an effort from the edge of the area but again it's not enough to trouble Simon.
Another good delivery from the left from García but there are enough white shirts to deal with it.
How much Zidane would love to get one back before the rapidly approaching break.
The shape of this game has understandably flipped.
Despite being more dominant in play before, something that is likely to continue, Madrid now have a worrying feeling everytime they lose the ball. Williams and García on the last man.
GOOOOAAAAALLL!!! Raúl García strokes the spot kick to the right as Courtois goes the other way, staring at the goal-bound ball helplessly.
PENALTY to Athletic! Vázquez all over Martínez
Athletic do have a few moments at the other end and see Balenziaga then Muniain deliver into the area. Both dealt with well.
Vázquez wide on the right - plenty support coming from midfield and the full-backs to push on the attack - lofts in a cross but it's well dealt with and the Basques try to get some relief from this pressure.
It's all Madrid now as they chase an equaliser. Benzema first has an effort before Asensio stretches to guide a low cross goalwards.
Athletic struggling to stem the flow.
CHANCE! A beautifully disguised ball from Mendy sends Hazard into the left channel of the penalty area untracked. He pauses, as if to give him the time needed to pick out the perfect pass, but then cuts the ball back to the Athletic defender who happily clears.
Poor choice from the winger.
CLOSE! Asensio decided to sort things out himself and cuts inside from the right* before letting rip. Just wide.
*Quite a fluid look to the front three as Hazard and Asensio especially switch flanks.
PING! Raúl García has the taste for it and shifts the ball to his left foot before striking from the edge of the area.
It flies past the outside of the right post as Courtois throws himself in the same direction just in case he's needed. The Lions' tails are up!
Muniain puts in a decent cross which has a big Belgian on the stretch. Madrid happy again to try and play themselves out of danger at the back, something that cost them for the goal.
There's no doubt that the goal came against the run of play. Madrid had looked as though they were slowly building up their game.
How do they respond?
Williams has a half chance as he attempts to volley home the loose clearance from Vázquez.
Let's just say the corner flag was in more danger than Courtois' goal.
SAVE! Ramos rises as he does to meet a lovely inswinging free-kick from Kroos on the left touchline. He guides his header straight into the arms of a grateful Simon. Good chance!
Some sharp passing and a biting tackle or two from Madrid suggests they're right up for this one tonight.
A couple of opportunities arose for a killer through ball but the red and white shirts were aware of the danger and intercepted on each occasion.
CHANCE! What a delicious little clip over the defence from Casemiro to find Hazard.
The Belgian controls well but is smothered out by two covering defenders before getting a shot away. Corner.
SAVE! First real shot in anger comes from Hazard. Finding space on the right side, just outside the area he let's fly.
It's a clean, powerful strike but straight at Simon who blocks.
Great covering from Lucas Vázquez coming across from the left stops Muniain from getting a sniff. And Madrid immediately head in the other direction.
Foul from Ramos inside his own half and the Lions can try to muster something from the free-kick. They go quick but it's cleaned up before any real threat created.
Nice open start to the game.
Great pressure on Courtois from Williams forces the keeper to slice a clearance wide of his penalty box for a throw in.
The corner is collected by Simon who quickly gets a counter going for Athletic.
Madrid defend it well by getting numbers back and then Varane and Modric set their own counter away.
The Croatian joins in the action, getting an effort away from the edge of the Athletic area but it has no power and Simon collects without thinking.
First corner of the game. Mendy does well to win it on the left.
The delivery is good but García heads away decisively. Another corner.
Asensio has a chance to make something happen down the left (note Hazard has started on the right) but his lazy backheel to Mendy is cut out.
Madrid, in all white, get a few early touches in across the backline but as they attempt to bring it forward find themselves under plenty of pressure from their opponents.
And we're off!
Everyone ready? Real Madrid about to get this going...
As the teams head out onto the field, a quick look at the records of these side.
Lions not sleeping tonight
There's no doubting that these lads will be straight out of the blocks when the whistle goes.
Did you know that the Basque club got rather annoyed with another side from the capital over their identification marks?
Atlético were called out for copying the side’s name, colours and badge when the Manzanares entity was formed over a century ago.
Latest news: Ramos a doubt
While warming up, the Madrid captain appeared to hurt himself and we believe he went back to the changing rooms for checks/treatment.
Immediately Nacho was out getting himself stretched.
We'll keep you posted...
Jovic no more
One player that will not feature for Real Madrid tonight, or for the rest of the season, is striker Luka Jovic who today rejoined Eintracht Frankfurt on loan until the end of the campaign.
Jovic, 23, left Frankfurt for Madrid in a 60-million-euro deal in summer 2019, but has failed to reproduce the form he showed in Germany, scoring just twice in 32 appearances for Los Blancos.
Prior to moving to Spain, the Serbian international had netted 27 times in 48 games for Frankfurt in the 2018/19 season, a haul that included 10 goals in the Europa League as the Bundesliga side reached the semi-finals.
Itching on the bench
Despite being unable to break the deadlock against Osasuna at the weekend, Zidane's XI is unchanged. Two players left out again, Martin Odegaard and Fede Valverde, will be asking themselves what they need to do to make their presence known, both huge talents.
Zizou has continually talked up both young stars and has said they will get their chance. Maybe tonight's line up is more of a 'prove what you can do' message to some stars that have to deliver.
Athletic Bilbao: A team in transition missing special connection with fans
“You should be able to draw a line between different things, but the coach has paid a price,” says former Athletic Bilbao youth coach Kike Linero. “In football, sometimes we forget things very quickly. Garitano saved the team in his first season, almost qualifying for the Europa League. He was a coach who had grown up here. The team’s form has been up and down, but young players are being introduced, and the position in the table was not so bad to force drastic measures. I don’t agree with bringing in people from outside.”
Linero is speaking about the decision made by Athletic Bilbao’s hierarchy on January 3 to sack first-team coach Gaizka Garitano, and replace him with former Valencia boss Marcelino Garcia Toral. That decision caused some surprise outside the immediate vicinity of the Basque club, as Los Leones had beaten Elche 1-0 earlier that day to climb to ninth in the Primera Division table.
Check out this great read on the Basque side from Dermot Corrigan for the appropriately named, The Athletic.
Team news: Athletic Club
Some are surprised with Marvcelino's decision to go with Núñez in the back-line for this game, alongside Martínez.
Capa and Balenziaga will be asked to deal with the wide play from Hazard and Asensio, but will need support for the overlapping Vázquez and Mendy.
The other interesting choice is Dani García to play centrally with Vencedor, while confidence to test the opposition defence lies with Williams and Raúl García, who'll fancy their chances.
Team news: Real Madrid
As expected, Zidane has given Hazard another chance to get some minutes under his belt and, hopefully, begin to show his true self. There's a stunning attacking player in there somewhere - as anyone who watched him tear up the Premier League can attest to - but will we see that version again in white?
The Belgian will be joined up front by Benzema and Asensio, the young Spaniard starting to show his own brand of magic in recent weeks.
With Carvajal out, the normally reliable Lucas Vázquez will fill in at right-back, while that midfield trio of Casemiro, Kroos and Modric will look to take control.
Athletic XI: Unai Simón; Capa, Núñez, Íñigo, Balenziaga; De Marcos, Dani García, Vencedor, Muniain; Raúl García, Williams
Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Lucas Vázquez, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Asensio, Benzema, Hazard.
Lions ready for more glory
As I mentioned, Athletic have won this trophy twice before, and the second of those came not too long ago.
Seven of the Lions' first team were part of the squad that won in 2015. They are: Ibai Gómez, Iñaki Williams, Iker Muniain, Iñigo Lekue, Oscar De Marcos, Mikel Balenziaga and Iago Herrerín.
Back then it was a two-legged affair, with a 4-0 home win followed by a safe 1-1 at Camp Nou as Messi and co were stunned by Aritz Aduriz's four goals across the piece.
Who can be their star this time around?
Kick-off getting closer
Ramos, Valverde, Hazard, Kroos, Modric, Mendy, Marcelo...
The lads head out of the hotel, fully masked up, of course!
The Spanish Super Cup is potentially the catalyst that Madrid forward Eden Hazard needs right now.
As I pointed to in the previous post, it seemed to work wonders for his compatriot and Eden has a chance to follow through Thibaut's sliding door.
Tonight's game also gives Hazard the opportunity to pave the way for his first Clásico, with injury having kept him out thus far. Will the Belgian be in the starting XI for Zinedine Zidane? We'll find out in a few minutes.
Despite some people putting this trophy rather lower down the prestige ranks than others, it has proved to be a great confidence booster for clubs, and indeed players, over the years.
Thibaut Courtois is one player that has benefitted from it, proving his worth after a tricky opening spell at Madrid. Last season's win was the start to Courtois' run of form that would see him lift the award for best goalkeeper as Los Blancos lifted LaLiga.
Real Madrid clearly want to retain their Spanish Super Cup crown, following up on the win over neighbours Atlético in last year's final in Saudi Arabia.
If they overcome Athletic tonight then we'd have a Clásico to look forward to on Sunday - either way we'll bring you the final live here on AS English - and that would pit the two clubs with the most Super Copa titles against each other.
Barcelona already have 13 in the trophy cabinet while Los Merengues currently display just two fewer. Our Basque friends this evening will have something to say about that, of course, as they go chasing their third, twice having been runners up.
Barça await the winners
Last night saw an entertaining first semi-final played out at the Estadio Nuevo Arcángel in Córdoba, and ended with FC Barcelona clinching their place in the final.
Following a 1-1 draw, the game saw no more goals through the additional 30 minutes of extra time. Penalties were to decide the game and Barça emerged victorious, as La Real failed to score with their first three attempts.
Here's how that dramatic affair went down:
The day before
The Basque side went through their paces at tonight's venue on Wednesday. It's chilly in Málaga... but nothing like what more central and northerly parts of Spain have been enduring lately.
The social media accounts of the clubs have been getting excited about this fixture and I'll bring you some of their offerings as part of the build-up.
In the past the domestic Super Cup was simply a two-team affair, with the winners of the previous season's Liga taking on the Copa del Rey champions.
This year sees the second time the format has been played as a mini-tournament, with four teams, although there is an unusual difference to this one.
Whereas last season had the top two in LaLiga playing against the cup finalists, this year we are still none the wiser as to who will lift the Copa del Rey. The Basque sides Athletic and Real Sociedad are yet to play last year's final, again due to the pandemic, and the desire to fill a stadium with fans for the fervent derby.
You are possibly wondering why this game isn't taking place in Saudi Arabia as it was last year.
Or maybe you've noticed that there is a rather serious worldwide coronavirus pandemic going on. For that reason it was moved to the Spanish region of Andalusia, with Córdoba, Málaga and Sevilla hosting the games.
Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao: Spanish Super Cup welcome
Hello and a very warm welcome to AS English's live coverage of the Spanish Super Cup second semi-final between Real Madrid and Athletic Club.
The action gets underway at 21:00 CET from La Roselada in Málaga...but I'll be bringing you plenty of build-up information before then.