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Real Madrid won the UEFA Super Cup, defeating English giants Manchester United 2-1 in Skopje, Macedonia, on Tuesday, thanks to goals from Casemiro and Isco.
There were no big surprises in the line-ups from either side, with Zinedine Zidane choosing not to start Cristiano Ronaldo, after he returned to training only at the weekend. Gareth Bale, a top transfer target for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United, started in the attack along with Isco and Karim Benzema.
The Red Devils handed competitive debuts to all three of their summer arrivals, with Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku all starting for Mourinho. Jesse Lingard shook off an injury to get a starting berth in the attack.
It was Madrid who had the first real chance of the game when they fired an effort over the bar from six-yards out as early as the third minute. United started growing into the game and threatened to break on a number of occasions with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Lukaku and Lingard looking lively.
But, it was Madrid again who came close to open the scoring, when Casemiro saw his header bounce off the bar, from a corner kick in the 16th minute. The Brazilian got his due soon after, as he finished off a Dani Carvajal pass over the United backline sumptuously, to make it 1-0, a little after halfway through the first period. The English club did threaten on a few occasions, but could not get on level terms, while at the other end, Karim Benzema saw a thumping drive saved by De Gea, as half-time approached.
Mourinho made a change at the break, throwing on Marcus Rashford in the place of Lingard. Soon after the restart, De Gea produced another brilliant save, this time to deny a powerful hit from Toni Kroos, as Real continued to pile on the pressure. And before you know, they were 2-0 up, with Isco finishing off a fine move. Immediately after United had a chance to come back into the game, but Pogba was denied by Keylor Navas and Lukaku fired the rebound wildly over the net with the goal at his mercy.
United were cut open once again on the hour mark, with Bale played in behind their defence, but the Welshman failed to make the most of it, hitting the crossbar. There was a ray of hope for the Europa League holders soon after though, as Lukaku found the back of the net from another rebound, after Navas saved a Matic effort from distance.
Rashford should have made it 2-2, after Mkhitaryan sent him through, but the teenager’s effort was deflected wide by Navas. Fellaini too had a headed effort saved in the injury time, before De Gea pulled off a stunner to deny substitute Marco Asensio. Sergio Ramos headed wide from the resulting corner. Substitute Cristiano Ronaldo fired a set-piece high and wide as full-time arrived, with Madrid retaining the trophy they won last year.
The game was openly contested during the start and towards the end of the game, but in the middle stages, it was all Madrid for most parts as they came out deserved winners. Zidane will be pleased with his side’s performance as he bagged another trophy as the manager of Los Blancos. Mourinho on the other hand, will know that there is work to be done if his team are to progress well in the Champions League in the coming season.
Pretty funny of Jose to try and piss off van Gaal on his birthday by attempting to have about 5% possession in this match.
— JOE.co.uk (@JOE_co_uk) August 8, 2017
Move over, Phil Jones. There's a new king in town pic.twitter.com/R25gmG91iV
— Dream Team (@dreamteamfc) August 8, 2017
Isco chosen as the UEFA Super Cup Man of the Match. Deserved!!
— мЯ. CΛMPUS™. (@mr_danbabaa) August 8, 2017
— TheCRonaldoFan (@TheCRonaldoFan) August 8, 2017
Lukaku’s first touch went inside the net
— United (@VintageMUFC) August 8, 2017
Very good performance from Fellaini.. Rashford n Lingard were shit today.
— Aishwary#WickedSunny (@AishwaryNipane) August 8, 2017
A flying winger like Ivan Perisic could boost us by 70% up. Just sign him you won’t regret it.
— don_kamio (@ChrispinCharles) August 8, 2017