Barca 3, Real 1.. Valdez decided di Maria would be fun to dribble by and the Argentine made him pay with an easy intercept and a kick into an open goal. The eyes are the giveaway, with daggers a plenty streaming from both sets.
Camp Nou, Barcelona. Several minutes later, and somewhat against the flow Real was building, Iniesta set up what may well stand as one of the goals of the season, dribbling past four defenders and passing to an open Xavi who had the time to accommodate himself for a perfect slotted shot past a sprawled Casillas. Playing at home the Catalans still fell behind 0-1 when Ronaldo’s perfect header off a corner put the Blancos ahead early in the second half. With the score now 3-2 and Real playing the return leg at home, they now only need a 2-1 or 1-0 win to take the Supercopa on away goals.
Capitalizing on the crestfallen Madrid side, the Catalans threw everyone on offense and a great through ball to Iniesta left Sergio Ramos with no choice but to bring him down in the box. Unfortunately for Madrid, and following a well-known script, that was the last thing that went Real’s way until the match had been decided.
Come the rubber leg, watch for Mourinho to exercise his chance to again leave Kaka at home, Gonzalo Higuain, Marcelo, and di Maria on the bench, and play his pet Benzema to Ozil’s and Ronaldo’s dismay. Messi, Mourinho against himself, and the presidents of the two clubs sharing a VIP box with smiles that never reach their eyes. From Gerard Pique to Dani Alves to Adriano and Javier Macherano, to the fifth member Victor Valdez. Nevertheless, the Blancos are in the driver’s seat, believe it or not, and the Bernabeu will witness quite a match then.
The Supercopa pits the 2011-12 La Liga winners Real, against the Copa del Rey winners, Barca. They dominated possession, relegated the vaunted Real offense to occasional counterattacks, and once again demonstrated that aside from Messi, and the best midfield in the world, they also have perfected their two pronged defense.
The second half was a microcosm of the recent scintillating rivalry between these domestic archrivals, the two best teams in the world.
But it would not be a Classico without something extra special, beyond the good football and unsportsmanlike defensive tactics. Between the two they snuffed three out of every four Real counters by ensuring the outlet man was either covered to perfection or coincidentally sprawled before he had a chance to get anything going. The hosts looked as rusty as their guests and only Lionel Messi got two shots off toward the end of a first half that ended 0-0.
Less than a minute later a long Macherano pass from left to far right found Pedro streaking, off sides, on the wing. And then they have their second weapon the outstanding stealth duo of Macherano and Sergio Busquets–perhaps the two smartest tacklers in the game today. The linesman, standing but a few yards away, never raised his flag and the striker was soon into the box and shooting past Iker Casillas for the tying goal.
The patented Barca defense relies first on a strong foursome at the back who are genuinely excellent. Messi scored the ensuing penalty for the lead. It is Critiano Ronaldo vs. Real Madrid came to town to play Barcelona FC and the teams took their sweet time getting into gear in the first leg of their Supercopa tie. Barcelona is simply too much for Mesut Ozil, Angel di Maria, and Ronaldo when they counter with the likes of Messi backed-up by the magisterial Andres Iniesta and the mesmerizing Xavi Hernandez. The artistry is in never getting more than a yellow card for their trouble while consistently destroying anything Real could construct.
But on the pitch the tune has been the same with but a few improvisations now and again