Ozil 13, Alonso 54 – Villa 36, Messi 45
Real Madrid and Barcelona played out an entertaining and highly-competitive 2-2 draw in the first leg of the 2012 Supercopa de Espana.
Jose Mourinho’s side will be disappointed to come away without an advantage though, having displayed the greater energy and pressing to their play, particularly in the first half, that troubled Barcelona, before they hit back with two surprise strikes.
Real’s early dominance was rewarded with the opening goal when Karim Benzema’s clever run in-field wrong-footed Eric Abidal, before displacing fellow Barca centre-back for the night Javier Mascherano with a pass to Mesut Ozil to score. However, Barca responded with two goals in the final 10 minutes of the first 45 – a stunner from David Villa and an opportunistic finish from Lionel Messi – to go into the break ahead, from their only two shots on goal.
The second half saw Los Blancos again the more dominant side, and again rewarded with a goal, as Pepe’s lay-off in the penalty area found Xabi Alonso able to side-foot the ball into the net, through a crowd of five Blaugrana shirts.
In a game with five bookings, both teams will feel aggrieved with the officiating in the closing stages of the game, as first Cristiano Ronaldo and then Pedro Rodriguez were felled in respective penalty boxes, but for their appeals to fall on deaf ears.
Real’s pace of play and high-line pressing is a positive Mourinho will no doubt attribute to detailed, aggressive work in pre-season, however the frustration will be at the failure to fully capitalise when in the ascendancy. Pep Guardiola’s concerns at the physical shape of his players looked justified, with them spending long periods of the game without the intensity of chasing the ball that is otherwise custom.
However, with the tie neatly balanced for the second leg on Wednesday, Barcelona will arguably be the happier team to come away with the draw.
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo; Alonso, Khedira (Callejon 57); Di Maria (Coentrao 53), Ozil, Ronaldo; Benzema (Higuain 80)
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Mascherano, Abidal, Adriano (Pique 61); Thiago (Xavi 57), Kieta, Iniesta; Sanchez, Messi, Villa (Pedro 71)
Did you know…Mesut Ozil is the first German national to score in the Supercopa de Espana, and Karim Benzema is the first Frenchman to assist a goal in the competition [via @infostradalive].