On Wednesday, January 12th, 2022 two of the biggest and badest football clubs of the Spanish LaLiga League faced off from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for the Spanish Super Cup semifinal with a spot in the Spanish Super Cup Final on the line. The Barcelona football club entered this match as the large underdog against the powerhouse number – 1 football team of the Spanish LaLiga League at the moment, Real Madrid.
Barcelona put on one hell of a valiant fight versus the almighty Real Madrid as the match was knotted up at 2 – goals apiece for the greater portion of the 2nd – half of this contest, but eventually Real Madrid netted a 3rd – goal score to secure the victory on Wednesday in this Spanish Super Cup semifinal. Real Madrid celebrated as they snuck away with a hard – fought 3 to 2 win during this wildly entertaining and thrilling “clásico” between the Spanish powerhouse football clubs.
Federico Valverde was the man who scored the final beautiful goal during extra time, and this goal was just in time to lock down the win for Real Madrid over Barca. This victory for Real Madrid marked the 100th – win over their historic and legendary rival in Barcelona who has recently been bouncing back from some very hard times. Barcelona has been facing various on and off the pitch issues such as their financial struggles as well as losing Lionel Messi to Paris – Saint – Germain, a string of injuries, and of course the dreaded COVID – 19 outbreak throughout their clubhouse.
Barcelona hit an equalizer two – times during regular time, however they could not manage to recuperate following Valverde’s outstanding goal accompanied by fancy footwork and passing from his teammates as Federico struck from very close range on a Real Madrid breakaway 8 – minutes into stoppage time enabling Real Madrid to gain their 5th – straight victory over the much loved and respected Catalan club in all various league competitions.
The defending Spanish Super Cup champion, Athletic Bilbao, is now set to play against face Spanish LaLiga League champion, Atlético Madrid, on the other side of the Spanish Super Cup semifinal on this Thursday, January 13th, 2022.
The Spanish Super Cup is once again being played out in Saudi Arabia following the COVID – 19 pandemic transferred the tournament last year back to Spain. The competition was ultimately relocated to Saudi Arabia and the playing field was increased from 2 to 4 – teams in a “Final Four” tournament format as part of a recently negotiated agreement sources are reporting may be worth approximately 30 – million euros ($34 million) a year until the year of 2029.
The recent changes have seemed to draw some criticism from several human rights activist groups as well as the grievances from the hardcore fans who favored the contest remaining in Spain to be played out in front on these team’s home crowds. Some of those complaining happened to be the midfielder for Athletic, Raúl García, who stated earlier this week it made “no sense” to play the matches out of Spain.
The Spanish Super Cup semifinal last Wednesday marked Real Madrid’s 100th victory over Barcelona throughout the 248 – official games versus one another in this heated sports rivalry. Barcelona has 96 – victories against Real Madrid, but Barca has not defeated Real Madrid ever since the 2019 season.
Like most rivalries the game was extremely close and evenly played, but Real Madrid utilized the talent of Vinícius Júnior and Benzema in order to lead counterattacks that enabled Real Madrid to create better scoring opportunities than Barcelona’s football team.
The duo of Júnior and Benzema provided Real Madrid with the lead during the 25th – minute of game play when Benzema got a steal off of the midfielder for Barcelona, Sergio Busquets, close to midfield, and then Benzema passed to Vinícius who eventually ran the ball into the area and he snuck a shot past Barcelona’s goal tender, Marc – Andre ter Stegen, in to the top of the goal.
Barcelona luckily was able to equalize with a freak goal towards the end of the 1st – half when a defender for Real Madrid, Éder Militão, attempted to clear the football from inside the area, but his kick deflected off of Barcelona’s forward Luuk de Jong and then it glanced off of a post that pushed the ball over the goal line for a much – needed goal for Barca.
Benzema managed to strike the post on a shot during the 69th – minute of play, but then several minutes after that he propelled Real Madrid back in front by taking a close range shot off of a loose rebound by Barca’s goalkeeper Ter Stegen after a cross – kick by Dani Carvajal. Ter Stegen had saved another one of Benzema’s shots shortly before his goal as well.
Ansu Fati, who substituted for De Jong during the 66th – minute of the match, equalized the contest for Barcelona when Fati scored a goal on a nice header after being set up on a cross – kick by his teammate, Jordi Alba.
Valverde who substituted for Luka Modric during the 83rd – minute of the match just so happened to score the game – winning – goal during stoppage time following a quick counter – attack by Real Madrid as he booted in a cross – kick by Rodrygo from the right side with Barcelona’s defenseman being out played.
Real Madrid came in as one of the best teams in Spain, and they were the obvious favorite over a Barcelona team that is still rebuilding following the loss of Lionel Messi to Paris Saint – Germain. Barcelona now trails Real Madrid by 17 – points in the Spanish LaLiga League with 1 – game in hand.
This was the 1st – clásico for Barcelona’s new head coach, Xavi Hernández. Ronald Koeman was still at the helm when Barcelona lost 2 to 1 to Real Madrid at the Camp Nou Stadium during the 1st – clásico of this season in the Spanish league last October of 2021.
Ferran Torres made his Barcelona football club debut after being signed from Manchester City. Torres and Barcelona’s young midfielder, Pedri González, arrived in Saudi Arabia later than their teammates because they had previously tested positive for COVID – 19. Torres, who was substituted for during halftime, has not played since he got hurt with Spain’s national team in October of 2021.
Real Madrid was playing without their defender David Alaba as he has been dealing with an injury himself.
Real Madrid made it to the “Final Four” after they finished in 2nd – place to Madrid Atlético in the league last season. Barcelona qualified as the Copa del Rey champion, which it won over Athletic Bilbao.
Only approximately 30,000 fans were allowed at the 62,000 – fan capacity King Fahd International Stadium due to concerns over the spread of the COVID – 19 pandemic.
“We competed well,” the defender of the Barcelona football club, Gerard Piqué, stated. “It’s not the result we wanted but we are a step closer to winning. I’m very proud of our team. We have to leave with our heads up after the way we played against a Real Madrid team that is having a very good season.”
“I have to admit that Barcelona played well,” the Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti expressed. “It was an even match. We were efficient on the counterattacks.”
The Associated Press News Services. “Madrid beats Barcelona for 100th – time, reaches Cup final”. The Associated Press. January 12, 2022.