Athletic Club overtook an abject Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final on Thursday night, with two first-half goals enough to clinch a 2-1 victory.
Although Los Blancos dominated the opening proceedings, it was Marcelino’s side that took the lead with less than 20 minutes on the clock. After Lucas Vazquez’s botched pass that gave possession in Real’s half, Bilbao came to life and Raul Garcia kept a cool head to get past Thibaut Courtois.
Vazquez was once again at fault as Athletic doubled their lead, with the Spaniard knocking down Inigo Martinez in the zone, allowing Garcia to carry the score 2-0 – an opportunity he never had before. air to let pass.
Madrid kept pushing throughout the second half and Marcos Asensio came close twice to be denied by the woodwork. Karim Benzema eventually pulled out a goal with a strike from close range, although Athletic held on tight meaning he will face Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup final.
These are the highlights of the match, now to these player ratings…
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – 5/10 – The ex-Chelsea man looked a bit unstable in the first few exchanges and was inches away from a calamitous error after holding the ball far too long. There wasn’t much he could do about either of the Athletic strikes.
Lucas Vazquez (RB) – 3/10 – A lazy pass in midfield allowed Athletic to pounce and break the deadlock, before his terrible defense saw the lead doubled as he conceded a penalty. An absolute horror show on the defensive.
Sergio Ramos (CB) – 6/10 – A solid and imposing performance alongside two players who looked like they were wearing clown shoes. Reliable in the air, never backed down from a challenge and came within inches of finding an equalizer late.
Raphaël Varane (CB) – 4/10 – Left a gaping hole in the center of defense which gave Raul Garcia the chance to put his team forward. Hooked at halftime.
Ferland Mendy (LB) – 5/10 – Played more like a winger than a left-back, offering a constant outlet on the Madrid left. Unable to deliver real quality when the opportunity arises.
Luka Modric (CM) – 5/10 – Always available to take the ball. I tried everything to punch a stiff Athletic baseline, but just couldn’t pick the lock. Not an unforgettable night.
Casemiro (CM) – 6/10 – Combative the whole game and sought to stretch the game with a number of precise diagonals. Well recycled possession in the second half as Madrid sought to keep the pressure on.
Toni Kroos (CM) – 6/10 – Unusually guilty of conceding possession on multiple occasions, but he didn’t let it destabilize him as he continued to seek to break the lines. Spread the game brilliantly and seem a constant threat whenever he was in the final third.
Marcos Asensio (RW) – 6/10 – Had very little influence on the first half, although he started to develop in the game in the second 45. He rocked the post with decent effort before hitting the crossbar with a still better. A performance of two halves – one anonymous, one very good.
Karim Benzema (ST) – 5/10 – Guilty of having a little one-sidedness at times when he should have looked up to find a teammate. I struggled to get into the game and at times looked lost. Eventually he hit his target, but he was addicted to Madrid looking for an equalizer that tells you everything you need to know.
Eden Hazard (LW) – 7/10 – He seemed very lively at first and didn’t get a chance not to open the scoring after a neat building game was thwarted at the last moment. A very promising display, and if Real Madrid are to challenge domestically and in Europe, they will need Hazard to stay in shape and continue to get back in shape.
Nacho (CB) – 5/10
Vinicius Junior (LW) – 5/10
Federico Valverde (CM) – 6/10
Mariano (ST) – N / A