Barcelona wins the Spanish Super Cup Final

Spanish Super Cup

At the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Real Madrid and Barcelona squared off in the Spanish Super Cup final. Despite Madrid’s best efforts, Xavi Hernandez’s team prevailed 0–3. The game’s notable players included Gavi, Pedri, and Lewandowski, who scored the goals.

The Catalans put on one of their greatest performances in years against their fierce “Clasico” rivals, led by teenage sensation Gavi, who scored a goal himself and assisted goals for Robert Lewandowski and Pedri Gonzalez. Xavi left Barca in November 2021 after enjoying great success as a player there. After a summer of lavish spending, this convincing victory is a sign that his project is headed in the right direction.

For Madrid, who have not played at their best since the World Cup break and who last weekend slipped three points behind Barcelona in La Liga, Karim Benzema scored a late consolation goal. Coach Carlo Ancelotti of Madrid experienced his first loss in a championship game since 2014 when “Los Blancos” handed Barcelona, who have now won the Super Cup a record 14 times, the title they had won last year.

With Gavi sliding inside from his official starting position on the left and repeatedly letting Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal slide, Xavi strategically fielded four central midfielders.

Due to Aurelien Tchouameni’s injury, Toni Kroos filled in as Madrid’s deepest midfielder. However, Pedri, who was ably supported by Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets, quickly outpaced him.

Lewandowski was denied by a brilliant early save from Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who was outstanding in his team’s semi-final victory over Valencia on Wednesday. Courtois tipped Lewandowski’s low shot against the post and out. At the other end, after finding space in the area to receive Ferland Mendy’s tempting cross, Benzema nearly missed the goal with his header.

Busquets regained the ball high up the field after an errant pass from Antonio Rudiger, and Lewandowski then fed Gavi, who easily slid the ball home with his left foot. Before Lewandowski set up the 18-year-old, Pedri and Ousmane Dembele exchanged quick passes and the latter’s deft run went unnoticed. For the second goal, Gavi switched roles, catching De Jong’s pass and slipping the ball across the goal for Lewandowski to finish expertly.

The highlight of Xavi’s time at Barcelona up until this point had been the Catalans’ 4-0 victory over Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu previous season, which was brought back by the team’s dominance.

Golden Boy

Barcelona are in good hands both now and in the future, as evidenced by Gavi, who won the Golden Boy award in 2022 and was the game’s best performer. In order to directly contain the Brazilian’s danger, Ronald Araujo, who was playing at right-back for Madrid, restrained the club’s own rising star Vinicius Junior.

When Alejandro Balde sprinted down the left, leaving Carvajal for dead, and found Dembele with a raking pass early in the second half, the French winger should have increased Barcelona’s lead, but Courtois stopped him. Soon after, the Belgian goalkeeper was had to step up and stop Lewandowski from a tight angle at the near post.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen of Barcelona, in contrast, was not put to the test until the 70th minute, when he stopped a long-range shot from Kroos, by which time his team had scored their third goal. Barcelona romped to a thrilling victory thanks to Lewandowski’s release of Gavi, who crossed for Pedri to tap home at the back post.

Another example of the developing youthful talent at Xavi’s disposal is Pedri, 20, who was also the recipient of the Golden Boy award in 2021. Barcelona’s perfect record was marred by a late Benzema goal, which he scored after his initial shot was stopped. Although Barcelona has already been eliminated from this year’s Champions League and Xavi will eventually be assessed on his performance in important events, he will draw encouragement from this triumph.

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