Barcelona were crowned Spanish Super Cup champions after goals from Gavi, Robert Lewandowski and Pedri earned them a 3-1 victory over bitter rivals Real Madrid in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Barcelona, who handed Xavi his first trophy as coach of the Catalan club, were dominant in every aspect of the game and benefited from three Real Madrid mistakes to score.
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For the second match in a row, Carlo Ancelotti said after the game that his team was not firing on all cylinders – a sentiment he shared after a shootout win over Valencia in the semi-finals – after being outclassed in all phases by Barcelona.
“We must learn [from this]. This is a difficult moment,” Ancelotti said. “We knew before this game that the team was not at its best. The game showed some issues that we need to improve. We will be back. It is a blow, but we will prepare for the next game.
“The game started even, there was not much rhythm, but after they scored first, they had more confidence. We gifted them the first two goals.
“[We have] To work, to look at the mistakes we made. in the [semifinal] Against Valencia, we were better in defense, and today we made mistakes again. We have to work on that.”
Xavi was a surprise when he shifted from his usual 4-3-3 system to play an extra man in midfield with only Lewandowski up front, while centre-back Ronald Araujo was deployed at right-back to try to slow down Real s electrifying winger Vinicius. Junior.
Vinicius was largely anonymous, while playing Gavi through the left channel paid dividends, as the youngster scored the opener and delivered two assists.
The Liga leaders went ahead in the 33rd minute after Real defender Antonio Rudiger passed in his own area to Barca’s Sergio Busquets, who started a move that ended with Gavi alone in the box to score with a precise left-footed strike.
“We strengthened the midfield to look to take over the area, and Araujo was really good at stopping Vinicius’ counters. We left them with no options and felt very comfortable,” Busquets said after the win
“We knew this was an opportunity we had to seize. We are going through a period of change at the club and in the dressing room, and this win will strengthen us to continue fighting for more titles.”
Lewandowski extended the lead 12 minutes later on the counter when Frenkie de Jong found Gavi, who got behind Real’s defensive line before putting it on a plate for the Poland striker, who tapped it into the back of the empty net.
Real Madrid, who had no shots on target in the first half, spent most of the second in panic mode, trying to avoid a bigger defeat.
However, again a costly mistake allowed Barcelona to score. Substitute Dani Ceballos lost the ball in midfield and Gavi sprinted forward and crossed for Pedri to shoot point-blank into the empty net.
Karim Benzema scored a consolation goal for Real in added time, striking home on the rebound after Marc-Andre ter Stegen denied his first attempt.