Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) : Real Madrid qualified for the final of the Spanish Super Cup after beating Valencia in a penalty shootout here on Wednesday. Thibaut Courtois saved Jose Luis Gaya’s spot kick for Valencia after Eray Comert had fired over the bar, while Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Marco Asensio and Toni Kroos all scored for Real Madrid.
It was cruel on Valencia, who produced a hard-working and disciplined display, making Madrid look ordinary for long periods of the second half and extra time. Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti surprisingly left Modric on the bench while Nacho Fernandez filled in at left-back for the injured David Alaba and Ferland Mendy.
Meanwhile, Kroos was partnered in midfield by the energetic duo of Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga. The first half saw each side have spells of pressure, with Rodrygo firing wide for Real Madrid, before Benzema’s run ended with his shot just going wide of the near post and Valverde shooting just wide from 30 meters.
Valencia then had some promising attacks, with Edinson Cavani forcing a good low save from Courtois, who was then lucky not to concede a penalty after he caught Toni Lato as the Valencia player tried to dribble past him.
There were no doubts when Real Madrid took the lead in the 39th minute when Benzema beat the offside trap and Comert caught his thigh as he shaped to shoot. Referee Hernandez pointed to the spot and Benzema made no mistake, sending the keeper the wrong way, reports Xinhua.
Modric came on at the start of the second half, but Valencia levelled directly from the kick-off as the ball came to Lato, who crossed for Samuel Lino to score at the back post.
Valencia then kept their shape and pressed Madrid, who were limited to playing a string of horizontal passes. It was only in the closing minutes that they threatened with Valencia keeper Giorgi Mamardashvili saving at full stretch from Kroos and then blocking Vinicius’ shot.
Fran Perez had the chance to win the game for Valencia in extra time, but Courtois made a magnificent save, and his stop from Gaya saw him named man of the match.