Real Madrid beat Barcelona and is a finalist in the Super Cup

Riyadh.- Federico Valverde scored in extra-time for Real Madrid on Wednesday to beat Barcelona 3-2 to secure their hundredth victory in the Spanish Football Classic and thus advance to the final of the Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.

Barcelona sold the defeat dear, equalizing the score twice during regulation 90 minutes. But when the eighth minute of first overtime was played, they could not recover after Uruguayan Valverde finished a counterattack and scored from close range.

It was Madrid’s fifth consecutive victory against Barcelona, ​​something it had not done, as they had seven victories between April 1962 and February 1965.

Defending Super Cup champions Athletic Bilbao will take on Spanish league monarchs Atlético de Madrid in the second semi-final on Thursday.

The Super Cup returned to Saudi Arabia this year when the coronavirus pandemic forced the previous edition to be moved to Spain again. The tournament was moved to Saudi Arabia and expanded from two to four teams with a “Final Four” format. According to the press release, this is part of a $30 million ($34 million) agreement per year until 2029.

The changes drew criticism from human rights activists and complaints from fans who preferred the tournament to remain in Spain.

In Riyadh, a collective brilliance in a counterattack put Madrid in the final against a more competitive Barcelona than they had dominated the league last October with a 2-1 victory.

After being entered by Luka Modric in the final segment of regulation time, Valverde capitalized on a diagonal that Rodrigo sent from the right and Vinicius Jr. passed between his legs.

“We did a great job, the whole team did a great job,” Valverde said. “I am happy for the opportunity that coach (Carlo Ancelotti) gave me in a game like this.”

In regular time, Vinicius and Karim Benzema scored for Meringue in the 25th and 72nd minutes, but Barcelona’s side reacted to these gains.

Luc de Jong and Anu Fati, who returned to play after an injury absence from 6 November, scored for Barca on 41 and 83.

“In the first 20 minutes we were self-aware, then we competed with them, we took a step forward and we were better than them,” said Barca coach Xavi Hernandez, who took the reins in November. “But we’re proud, it’s a game to grow”

Rodrigo made a counterattack that led Benzema to overtime exemption with which he could have extended the win.

Madrid’s recent dominance against Barcelona has allowed him to distance himself from his arrival in the Classics, which began its history on May 13, 1902. Barca were left with 96 wins and 52 draws.

Barca defender Gerard Pique said: “I think we’ve competed very well. It’s not the result we expected. Losing against Madrid hurts, but we’re close to victory, we need to win.” We need that definite move.”

Vinicius opened the account with a down left wing, enabling him to define with a left footed shot up after Benzema steals the ball in midfield from Sergio Busquets.

Luc de Jong managed to level for Barca for the first time, sending a shot over the nets in the short field after a poor clearance by Eder Militao. It was the third consecutive game in which the Dutchman scored for the Catalan.

Benzema put the whites back in front thanks to a shot in front of an open goal from Dani Carvajal, which was barely removed by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Fati entered the exchange on 66 and in the final stretch with his precise header was the decider in the center of Jordin Alba that left goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois without a substitute.

17 points behind Madrid in the La Liga title fight, Barcelona found a way back into the field of aggressive midfielder Pedri after being absent from the end of September due to a muscle injury.

Forward Ferran Torres has enjoyed his debut with the Catalan after coming in as a reinforcement in this winter window from Manchester City and registering this week.