Real Madrid 0-0 Atletico Madrid (4-1): 3 Talking Points | Spanish Super Cup 2019-20
The 36th edition of the Spanish Super Cup was held at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with Real Madrid defeating city rivals Atletico Madrid on penalties.
This was the fifth time in the last six years that the two Madrid clubs were meeting in a cup final and the latest fixture followed all four of its predecessors by going to extra time.
The two sides were fortuitous to have been here, having benefited from an expanded tournament that saw the inclusion of the runners-up in the league and Copa del Rey and they took maximum advantage of the opportunity.
Real Madrid dispatched Valencia 3-1 in a one-sided semifinal encounter, while Atletico completed a 3-2 comeback over Barcelona to book their spot in the final.
Given what was at stake, it came as no surprise that the two teams went toe-to-toe for the entirety of the game but neither could strike the decisive blow to secure victory.
After a cagey opening 45 minutes, both sides exploded to life in the second half, with Luka Jovic - who started in the absence of Karim Benzema - showing great footwork to create space for himself before firing straight at Jan Oblak.
Soon after, Federico Valverde had an even better chance when he was found unmarked in the area by a Jovic cross but with only Oblak to beat, the Uruguayan international fluffed his lines, leaving Zinedine Zidane groaning in anguish.
Much like they did against Barcelona, Atletico Madrid rode out the storm and grew in the ascendancy as the match wore on and fashioned plenty late chances to win the game.
Alvaro Morata and Carlos Vitolo found space late on but could not find the back of the net, while Thomas Partey almost caught Thibaut Courtois out with a quickly taken freekick right at the death of the game.
It was more of the same in extra-time and we needed the lottery of penalties to decide the winner of the 2019/2020 Spanish Super Cup.
Misses by Saul Niguez and Thomas Partey handed the early initiative to Real Madrid and Los Blancos were far more clinical, scoring each of their four penalties, with captain Sergio Ramos dispatching the winning spotkick to send the overwhelming Los Blancos supporters in the stadium to raptures.
In this piece, we shall be highlighting three talking points from the highly engaging fixture in Saudi Arabia.
#3 Fede Valverde takes one for the team
Federico Valverde has grown in leaps and bounds since being promoted to the Real Madrid first team last season and a string of impressive displays in the middle of the park has led to him becoming a bonafide starter for the capital club this term.
Although he impressed with his distribution and energetic display in midfield, the 21-year-old missed arguably the best chance of the match when he somehow nodded against his leg when it seemed easier to find the back of the net.
With the game reaching its dying embers and both sets of players tiring, Atletico Madrid broke free in the 116th minute when Alvaro Morata was played in by Angel Correa with only Thibaut Courtois to beat.
The 27-year-old left both Ferland Mendy and Federico Valverde in his wake and seemed destined to score against his former side when he was clipped from behind by the former Penarol midfielder.
This was a clear goalscoring opportunity and expectedly, he was shown a straight red card, with his actions sparking a bit of a melee.
While many might scoff at the cynicism of his tackle, the hard bottom line is that his action arguably kept Real Madrid in the game and even in hindsight, it is one he would likely take again.
#2 Thibaut Courtois the hero
Things did not go smoothly for Thibaut Courtois when he arrived in Real Madrid and there were genuine concerns over whether he was good enough to be the club's number one.
It has, however, started to fall in place for the Belgium international and a string of good performances have won fans of the club over.
A run of three consecutive clean sheets in all competitions was ended by Valencia in the semifinal but the 27-year-old put in arguably his best performance in a Real Madrid shirt in the derby with Atletico.
Lining up against his former side, Courtois reclaimed his status as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, making a host of wonderful saves to keep his side in the game.
Having been relatively untested for most of the first half, he was reliable when called upon in the second, saving smartly from Alvaro Morata, Thomas Partey, and Vitolo in regular time, while he also showed great instincts to stop a Morata overhead kick in extra-time.
There was also a save in the penalty shootout, as he dived low to his right to stop Atletico's second spotkick from Thomas Partey and it cannot be denied that their goalkeeper played the most important role in guiding Real Madrid to their 11th Spanish Super Cup title.
#1 More final glory for Zinedine Zidane
Three things in life are certain, death, taxes, and Zinedine Zidane winning any final he disputes as a manager.
The 47-year-old had a spectacular playing career, distinguishing himself as one of the greatest of all time but if history has shown us anything, it is that playing career counts for little when it comes to football management.
Zidane has, however, even found more success on the bench than on the field and guided Real Madrid to the most successful period in her modern history, winning nine trophies including three consecutive Champions League titles in just two-and-half years.
A brief hiatus saw the club flounder but the Marseille native has returned to calm the storm and set Real Madrid back on the path to greatness.
Despite not winning as much acclaim for his tactical prowess like Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Diego Simeone or Jose Mourinho, Zinedine Zidane is immensely successful in his own right and currently boasts the impressive record of having never lost a final as a manager.
The three-time World Player of the Year disputed eight finals in his first stint as Real Madrid boss (nine if you include his time on the bench in the 2014 Champions League final) and he won all eight, with three coming in the Champions League, two in the UEFA Super Cup, two in the Club World Cup and one in the Spanish Super Cup.
He made it nine wins from nine finals as a manager against Atletico Madrid and his latest title sees him move up to ten trophies as a Real Madrid manager, putting him just four behind the legendary Miguel Munoz as the most successful coach in the club's illustrious history.
Published 13 Jan 2020, 08:08 IST