Fede Valverde’s goal in the first period of extra-time gave Real Madrid a place in Sunday’s final of the Spanish Supercup with a thrilling 3-2 win over archrivals FC Barcelona.
Valverde finished off a counter-attack launched by Casemiro to break Barca’s hearts after they had twice come from behind to level the scores.
Although the game ended in disappointment for Xavi Hernandez’s men, they can take heart from an improved display and the impressive returns of Pedri and Ansu Fati after long injury layoffs.
While Barcelona handed a first start to recent signing Ferran Torres, Real Madrid lost defender David Alaba to a muscle problem before kick-off and he was replaced by Nacho Fernandez.
Barca kicked off and it was quickly obvious that Real Madrid were content to try and draw Barca forward and look to hit them on the break using the pace of Vinicius Jr and Marco Asensio on the wings, and Karim Benzema’s guile through the middle.
Benzema and Asensio both fired wide after early breaks, while Vinicius hit a shot at Marc-Andre ter Stegen, before Real’s play was rewarded in the 25th minute when Benzema picked Sergio Busquets’ pocket and the ball fell to Modric, who slipped it through to Benzema, whose quick pass to Vinicius allowed the Brazilian to run through and fire past Ter Stegen.