Facing their first crisis of the season, Real Madrid responded like champions as they beat 10-man Barcelona 2-1 at the Bernabeu tonight to win the Spanish Super Cup on away goals.
It must have been one amazing pre-game speech by Jose Mourinho as Real Madrid came out of the gatyes flying and scored two quick goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo to go ahead 4-3 on aggregate.
Barcelona had Adriano red-carded for hauling down Ronaldo but the visitors pulled one back through a superb 35-yard Lionel Messi free-kick. Both sides then missed clear-cut chances in the second half before Real prevailed.
Once again Barcelona’s defense let it down, just like it did in the first half. This time it was Javier Mascherano, playing center back because of the injured Puyol, who missed Pepe’s speculative lobbed clearance to allow Higuain to score easily.
Another defensive mistake let in Ronaldo and, after audaciously back-heeling the ball over centre-back Gerard Pique, he calmly took his time before powering in a shot to put Real 4-3 ahead overall.
It is rare that you see someone put Barcelona to the sword, and Real Madrid did in the first half as Valdes had to make several terrific saves in the first half to keep the game close.
Barcelona’s task became even harder in the 28th minute when Adriano’ was sent off for a professional foul.
But as long as you have Messi in your line-up you have a chance and right before half-time Messi pulled Barca back in the game with a brilliant free kick.
In the second half, this game lived up to its El Clasico billing as the game ebbed from end to end as both teams had enough chances to win the game. But Valdes and Iker Casillas made some fantastic saves to keep the score 2-1.
New Real signing Luka Modric, on as a substitute, had a close range strike blocked before Messi drove an injury-time shot agonisingly wide for Barcelona as the home side held on for their first Super Cup victory since 2008.