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Real Madrid will be taking a 3-1 lead into the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup after night of high drama at the Camp Nou, especially in the closing 45 minutes.
From Gerard Pique’s own goal to Cristiano Ronaldo’s sending off, it was the kind of game that will give fans of both sides plenty to talk about between now and Wednesday’s second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Intense first half
One thing is very clear. Friendly season is over. Right from the outset there was clearly a very different vibe to this game.
The first official trophy of the season was up for grabs and with all the ingredients of a Clásico thrown in too, there was never any chance of this being a dull match.
There was no abundance of goalmouth drama for the 89,514 spectators the first half, but that was not through any lack of intensity or quality from either side. There was physicality too, with five yellow cards already flashed before the break.
Real Madrid, with main man Ronaldo on the bench and rather confusing wearing blue, seemed to be dictating the game far more than we are used to seeing at the Camp Nou, but it was Luis Suarez and Leo Messi who were getting the biggest chances.
Despite a quiet half, Gareth Bale was the only one to rustle up any real threat in the visiting ranks but Samuel Umtiti and Ter Stegen were both at hand to frustrate the Welshman’s evening.
Piqué at the wrong end
The first 45 minutes had produced little out of the ordinary. All that would change when the sides re-emerged for the second.
Things got off to the cruellest of starts. Marcelo’s cross looked to be going nowhere, but Pique’s foot ended up turning the ball into his own net.
And Madrid would have quickly extended their lead had Jordi Alba not managed to block what had looked a certain goal for Karim Benzema.
Barça needed a response, and they found it. More and more of the action was in and around the visiting area, one of the closest of Barça’s many chances coming when Raphaël Varane very nearly replicated Pique’s error at the other end.
Messi from the spot
Ronaldo immediately had an impact when Zinedine Zidane finally sent him on, having a goal disallowed for offside.
But it was after the Portuguese striker had come on that the Catalans truly unleashed their full potential. Sergio Busquets had the equaliser at his feet but sent the ball skyward.
It would be from the penalty spot that Barça finally got back on level terms. Luis Suárez came down in the area and Messi extended what is already a record tally of goals in this competition.
But the celebrations were short-lived. A Madrid counter attack ended up at the feet of Ronaldo, whose powerful drive always looked like it going in the back of the net.
CR7’s muscle-flexing goal celebration was something he’d end up regretting. That was a textbook yellow card and when the referee booked him a second time for simulating a penalty, his short Super Cup involvement had come to an end.
Barça pushed forward in the hope of capitalising on the extra man. But to no avail. And in the very last minute, Marco Asensio, on a counter-attack not too dissimilar to the one that led to Madrid’s second goal, delivered the final blow of a painful night for Barça.
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