After watching the Super Copa last night, a few things were abundantly clear. This was not going to be a repeat of the ugly melee and scenes that we saw during last seasons’ speight of El Classicos. In fact it was an open game of free flowing football. Yes there were some dubious challenges, and the natural Catalan Castilian rivalry was there for all to see.
Secondly – and more importantly – this was not the Real Madrid of last season. They believed they could beat Barca, so much so, Mourinho even asked for the grass to be cut short to aid the passing of the ball. When asked if that was a mistake (usually when Barca visit the Bernabeu the grass resembles something of a jungle field) Jose was so confident in his team he replied no, cut the grass, we are just as good.
Real may not have got their victory in terms of the score last night, but a score draw leaves it all to play for on Wednesday night, and more than that, they were not played off the park. Possession was even and Real were the side that dominated – a far cry from last season’s Classicos. Should Benzema have taken his opportunities in front of goal, Real could have been three ahead before half time. As it was, the question over their need for a central striker still remains, and last night Gonazalo Higuain was missed.
This summer Real have gone about their transfer dealings relatively quietly for them, with no huge marquee signings. They, at Mourinho’s request, replaced lame duck Valadano with Zinedene Zidane and Mourinho has in place a more English style of structure at the club, with total control – meaning no excuses.
In came several young players, who have all been given time to bed into the squad and find their feet, and this worked wonders last night, with Coentra being impressive on his Classico debut, and much more expected to come from Sahin and Callejon to name just two.
Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez made a convincing debut, and as always the Catalan side were mesmerising to watch. Without Carlos Puyol they are questionable at the back, and Real exploited this during the course of the match. David Villas equalising goal was not something that Casillas could have stopped – it was quite simply a goal out of nothing – something Barca are able to create unlike no other side. Messi has clearly well and truly broken his duck of not scoring against a Mourinho team, following up goals in the Classicos with one last night to put his side in the lead.
However, Real did not roll over and pressed for a deserved equaliser, when Xabi Alonso got a rare goal for los Blancos. Real were disappointed not to have won a game in which they dominated, but as Alonso stated, ‘it was not the best result we could get, but far from the worst.’ Memories of a 5-1 drubbing last season spring to mind when confirming this!
The biggest surprise of the game was that it finished with eleven men on either side, and no mass brawls. Not to mention the attacking flare that was shown by Real, who until the Villa goal looked like the only side capable of scoring. It is fair to say that the score probably gives Barca the edge, but write the new look Real off at your peril – the special one is more likely than not to have some tricks up his sleeve for the return leg at the Camp Nou.
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