Ancelotti’s Real eye first trophy in 2021-22 campaign

Ancelotti’s Real eye first trophy in 2021-22 campaign

Synopsis

Los Blancos will face Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup final on Sunday

Ancelotti’s Real eye first trophy in 2021-22 campaign

Real Madrid’s players celebrate after scoring during the Spanish Super Cup semi-final football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the King Fahad International stadium in the Saudi capital Riyadh on January 12, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

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Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid will be hoping to lift their first title on Sunday when they will face Athletic Bilbao in the final of the Spanish Super Cup in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Los Blancos will be strong favourites going into the match but they will be without a few of their first-team players.

Centre-back David Alaba, who missed the semi-final against Barcelona, is almost certain to miss the clash whereas right-back Dani Carvajal will not be available for the grand finale after testing positive for Covid-19.

Read more: Positive test for Carvajal complicates life for Real Madrid in Riyadh

 

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Boyed after winning El Classico

Real Madrid will enter Sunday’s contest with high confidence a fifth Clasico victory in a row on Wednesday.

As expected, Madrid triumphed to make it a quintet of consecutive Clasico victories, the first time either side has enjoyed such dominance since Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona won 5-0 at Camp Nou in 2010.

That Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema, Madrid’s deadly attacking duo, both scored again and the victory was completed when Vinicius ran over Rodrygo’s pull-back and Valverde, with Benzema and Casemiro next to him, rolled in the winner.

After the match, Ancelotti was pleased with the overall performance of the players and did not agree with Barcelona’s coach Xavi’s comments that the losing side controlled the game.

“I think the team is prepared for this type of match,” he said as quoted by Marca. “It was going to be a very even match. We were very effective at the start and on the counter. We failed to concede goals due to fatigue. The counter-attack was very effective. Good image of Spanish soccer. Barcelona played well and the match was very even. They caused us problems in the crosses, something they don’t usually do.”

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He continued by saying: “I don’t agree. It was an even match. The first half we conceded a goal due to bad luck. The second half was more even. Nobody dominated. We went down to use the counter. The three goals were spectacular. It’s more difficult for us to press forward and that’s why we used the counter-attack more”.

 

Athletic eye another upset

Real will go up against an Athletic Bilbao side who came back from a goal down to defeat La Liga champions Atletico Madrid 2-1 on Thursday in the second semi-final.

The Basque outfit, who won the Super Cup in 2021, trailed just after the hour mark when a header from Joao Felix crashed off the post before being deflected into the goal via the back of keeper Unai Simon.

However, the match swung Bilbao’s way inside four minutes late in the second half with both their goals also coming from set pieces.

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A 77th-minute header from Yeray Alvarez levelled the scores before Nico Williams hit the winner nine minutes from time, finding the net from a corner by captain Iker Munian.

The teenage Williams beat Renan Lodi and Atletico skipper Koke to the ball to head past Jan Oblak in goal.

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