Real Madrid claimed their second trophy of the early season after defeating Barcelona 2-0 at home with goals from Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema. The tie finished 5-1 in Madrid’s favor with with an own goal from Gerard Pique, a wonder goal from Cristiano Ronaldo and an equally brilliant goal from Marco Asensio with the lone Barca goal coming from a Messi penalty that was controversial in it’s own right.
There was no question that Madrid dominated their eternal rivals over both legs and Real looks far and above better than Barcelona and the loss of Neymar seems to be hindering the Catalans far more than people expected.
3 notes (over both legs)
Madrid look ready: Real Madrid took it to Barca over the two legs, easily pushing aside their greatest threat domestically. They looked in top form already whereas Barca were slow, misplayed many passes, and had no answer for Madrid’s speed and technique. There’s hardly any question whether Madrid is ready to defend their titles this season and it’d be hard for anyone to debate Barca has a chance at least right now.
Asensio a star: Everyone in Madrid saw what Marco Asensio brought to the team with his brilliant goals and knack for scoring in every competition. However, it’s his hard work, tenacity, and willingness to dig deep and do the dirty work that makes me feel he deserves a starting role and it will be hard for Zidane to see otherwise. While I don’t know that he’ll get 30 starts this season, there’s no reason to believe he won’t get 15-20 especially in games where the front 3 need or at least can be rested.
Pique the Goat: I don’t usually write much about the other team but I’ll make an exception this time. It’s no mystery that Pique is the most hated of the Barcelona players among the Madrid fan base but it was nice to see the deflected cross go off him to opening the scoring in the first leg. He was far slower in attempting to keep up with Marcelo or Asensio when he was forced to venture out left and he’ll have his issues always dealing with speedy players.
Player Ratings (just from 2nd leg):
Navas 7- Had to be aware to come off his line a few times, once notably to stuff Messi, in the match and came up with a couple key saves to preserve the shut out.
Carvajal 8- dug in well and kept Andre Gomes at bay while venturing forward plenty. Linked up well with Modric and Asensio and found time to whip in a few crosses. Had a couple misplayed balls and committed a couple fouls but overall a good night for the right back.
Varane 9- Excellent night from the French international. Was a force in the air winning a number of duels and put out a few fires. Showed off his pace more than once to beat Suarez for the ball and gave the Uruguayan fits.
Ramos 8- Also excellent defensively. snuffed out a few challenges in the middle of the box and was quick to react to a low Messi cross to clear just before Suarez arrived. In the thick of it as always with his challenges but kept his cool and avoided caution.
Marcelo 8- The Brazilian had a great night as well, getting the better of his defender more often than not. Sent in some delicious crosses, one of which to set up Benzema to make it 2-0. A couple loose balls were covered up by some fantastic long balls forward.
Modric 9- The Croatian sensation was fervent and lively all around the pitch. Had a decent shot blocked and generally sprayed around the ball wonderfully, finding passes few players could see. Still had a bit of preseason rust on some of his passes but his control and turn on Gomes in the first half was orgasmic.
Kovacic 7- Had himself a very solid night sitting in place of the benched Casemiro. Showed off his set of flicks and tricks for the crowd, had a few lovely turns and runs and for the most part controlled Messi and company as the first line of defense.
Kroos 8- A quiet night for the German but a very effective one. Sent in his usual array of free kicks and marshaled the play well, mostly from the back of the midfield. Occasionally got forward but not as often as usual.
Asensio 8- another night, another wonder goal for the budding star. He was instrumental in the all around build up to his goal as he strung together a few passes before picking up on the loose ball and firing home from 30 yards out that had Ter Stegen rooted to the spot. Buzzed up and down the pitch and looked a threat every time he had the ball at his feet.
Vazquez 6- Slightly more subdued night for the winger who saw a good bit of the ball but his final touch wasn’t quite there. That being said he commanded his side well for the most part and popped up defensively when needed.
Benzema 7- Started off slow but got himself into the attack as the game progressed. Scored a lovely striker’s goal as he brushed past the poor challenge from Umtiti to flick up and volley home Marcelo’s cross. Definitely enjoyed being the lone BBC member on the night and even showed some good hold up play, an area that has plagued the Frenchman a bit over the past couple of years.
Casemiro 5- Came on to shore up defense as always for the last hour.
Theo 5- Came on for his first cameo at the Bernabeu. Saw out the game well.
Ceballos NR- Came on in the last 10 minutes, also in his first game, and saw out a couple of threats.
The season kicks off tomorrow as Real Madrid travel to Deportivo La Coruna to begin their quest to defend their La Liga title.