The Spanish Super Cup has been traditionally played between the winner of the La Liga and the Spanish Cup, Copa del Rey winner before the new season starts – much like the Premier League Charity Shield. However, this year the concept was changed, much to the annoyance of , well, practically everyone but the La Liga decision makers. This season not only is the trophy decided by a four-team tournament, it is also played in early January and in Saudi-Arabia of all places. Admittedly Saudi’s have gathered plenty of high-end sporting events in the recent past, but the decision to take the Spanish Super Cup to the controversial nation was met with a public and not so public outcry.
While it is money that plays a big part, it’s reported that La Liga will cashi-in some £40M from the tournament, it is highly inconvenient for all the participants. The teams participating, last season’s La Liga winner Barcelona and runner up Atletico Madrid, Copa del Rey winner Valencia and with no better option, 3rd placed Real Madrid, should have a much needed winter break like the rest of the league. The fans have expressed their opinion on the tournament, reportedly there’s been 24 fans from Valencia and 50 from Atletico Madrid willing to see their team play in Jeddah, Saudi-Arabia. To add insult to injury, even the media rights sales for the previously “must-see” Super Cup have been hard to sell, both locally and internationally. Saudi-Arabia’s status in respecting human rights has turned away a lot of partners.
The cup tournament started with Real Madrid getting the better of their opponent Valencia, in a game where Toni Kroos scored a magnificient goal straight from the corner. And it was no fluke either. Both teams fielded their best starters and Real was on top from the start. Isco and Luka Modric took the Galacticos already 0-3 up and it was all over. Valencia’s single came as consolidation on 92nd minute from a penalty scored by Daniel Parejo. The game was reportedly witnessed on-site by 40 877 spectators.
Barcelona had a chance to make it a first Saudi El Clásico, but Atletico Madrid heavily disagreed. The game saw both teams field their best lineups and there was a lot of bad blood between the teams – as usual. After the scoreless first half, largely dominated by Barcelona, Atletico started the scoring. Koke took his team up only a minute into the second half, but Leo Messi and Antoune Griezmann answered almost instantly on 51st and 62nd minute. Atletico didn’t surrender, though. Alvaro Morata first equalized from a penalty on 81st minute and five minutes later Angel Correa sent Atletico to the final. Barcelona commanded the ball for 72% of the game, but the defensive lapse in the end cost them the game.
The Super Cup final, Madrid derby, will be played on Sunday the 12th between Real and Atletico.
Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid (1×2): 2.23 – 3.20 – 3.10