RIYADH - Real Madrid were crowned Spanish Super Cup champions after goals from Luka Modrić and Karim Benzema earned them a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Real took the lead in the 38th minute after Rodrygo sprinted past two defenders before passing to Modrić, who rifled a shot into the back of the net.
Luka Modric, absolute class! pic.twitter.com/twZKO6Y78B
Benzema extended their lead in the second half with a penalty after the video assistant referee spotted a handball from Yeray Álvarez inside the area.
Karim Benzema doubles Real Madrid's lead from the penalty spot pic.twitter.com/6fE2q3pXSf
Real were reduced to 10 men three minutes from time after Éder Militão was sent off for a goal-line handball. Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois brilliantly stopped Raúl García's penalty kick with his left foot in the dying seconds.
COURTOIS WITH AN INCREDIBLE PENALTY SAVE IN THE 88TH MINUTE! pic.twitter.com/9vFDghbNYa
After two exciting semifinals, the final was a one-sided encounter, with Real Madrid completely dominating and never facing any real danger.
CAMPEONES!Real Madrid lift the Spanish Super Cup pic.twitter.com/zyMHybgShd
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 16, 2022
Real enjoyed the great majority of support from the 30,000 fans in the King Fahd Stadium, which was at 50% capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. France striker Karim Benzema had the backing of the Saudi supporters, but it was Modrić's night.
Stop that Modricpic.twitter.com/l94sWddoBe— Omar (@Fede15i) January 16, 2022
Modric takes home the MOTM pic.twitter.com/FN2BZIrpgT
Carlo Ancelotti had said in the buildup to the game that his side were the very essence of a counter-attacking team and on Sunday Modrić and forward Rodrygo made their coach proud, with a perfectly executed counter to open the scoring.
Benzema has made a habit of scoring against Athletic and doubled the advantage from the spot with his 18th goal in 26 games against the Basque side, the most he has scored against one team in his career.
It was the 12th time Real had won the Spanish Super Cup, having claimed both editions of the competition in Saudi Arabia. Last year's edition, won by Athletic, was held in Spain due to the pandemic.
(Reporting by Fernando Kallas, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Toby Davis)