Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid
It’s the tie that everyone wanted, in Madrid anyway! Real and Atletico will contest the Spain Super Cup final on Sunday, in the heat of Saudi Arabia.
In the four-team showcase of Spain’s cup winners and runners up, Los Blancos saw off Valencia, and Atleti beat Barcelona, for the first time since April 2016, so it’s an all Madrid final and one which could go either way.
The two teams meet in a crunch La Liga match at the beginning of February and this game will hand a psychological edge to the victors.
Real Madrid had a comfortable passage to the final, beating Valencia 1-3 after cruising to a three goal lead. Toni Kroos opened the scoring with a little help from Valencia keeper Jaume Domenech who punched the German’s corner into his own net. Isco doubled the lead with the goal of the game, a well taken volley, before Luka Modric made it 3-0.
Valencia had a late consolation when Dani Parejo slotted home a penalty awarded by VAR. Los Blancos are beginning to show a ruthless streak, beating Getafe 0-3 to keep up the chase at the top of La Liga, and things are looking much brighter at the Bernabeu than at the start of the season when ZZ had an unsettled squad.
Gareth Bale has come back into the fold but he is unavailable for the final, still struggling with a chest infection that kept him out of the semi-final, while top scorer Karim Benzema is also out injured.
With Los Blancos a little short of firepower that may leave the door open for Atletico to cause another minor upset. Their 2-3 semi-final victory over Barcelona came thanks to a stunning fight back as Simeone’s team were heading for defeat with just ten minutes remaining.
Alvaro Morata calmly converted an 81st minute penalty and then Los Rojiblancos threw everything at it, and got their reward when Angel Correa took advantage of a sleepy Barca defence to fire home the winner.
Keeper Jan Oblak had a good game and he will be key to Atleti’s chances on Sunday.
Simeone’s team is going nicely in the league too. A recent defeat to Barcelona followed by a goalless draw with Villarreal cut Atleti adrift in La Liga, but three wins on the bounce have dragged them back into contention and they now sit just five points behind the leaders, Barca and Real.
The Spain Super Cup started in 1982 as a play-off between League and Cup winners over two legs; but it was announced, in November, that the Supercopa would expand to four teams including the runners up.
The decision to play it in Saud Arabia has not been without controversy though, as broadcaster RTVE declined to bid for the media rights in protest at Saudi’s human and women’s rights records.
Los Blancos have won the Spain Super Cup on ten occasions, the last time in 2017, and only Barcelona have won more with 13, while Atleti have won on two occasions, most recently in 2014.
In terms of head to head statistics, of the 66 games played since 1993 Real Madrid have won 35 to Atleti’s 12 and there have been 19 draws.
The earlier meeting, this season, resulted in a 0-0 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano, but Los Rojiblancos gave their city rivals a 7-3 hammering in the International Champions Cup back in July.
Both teams are in fine form, Atleti are on a run of five wins in all competitions while Los Blancos are unbeaten in 15.
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