With Barcelona lining up for the first time without €222m talisman Neymar, Real Madrid capitalised on Barca’s transfer misfortune to claim victory in the first leg of the Supercopa de España.
Luis Suárez had an early chance for Barcelona after breaking away from the Real Madrid defence – however, he was forced to take a shot on his weaker foot and Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas comfortably saved.
Real Madrid’s first real chance of the game came after 17 minutes. Spanish midfielder Isco showed incredible footwork to gain half a yard on the Barcelona defender before dragging a shot narrowly wide of Marc-André ter Stegen’s goal.
Gareth Bale also tested the German international goalkeeper later in the first half, forcing the former Borussia Mönchengladbach star into a smart save.
Despite an obvious dominance in possession, Barcelona were clearly still finding their feet after Neymar’s departure and stand in winger Gerard Deulofeu was unable to impose himself in the remainder of the first half.
Less than five minutes after the restart, Real Madrid found a way past Ter Stegen thanks to an own goal from Spanish international Gerard Piqué. Marcelo found some space down the wing for Madrid and after fizzing a low cross into the box, Piqué diverted the ball past his keeper.
The goal spurred Barcelona into action and they nearly levelled the score just minutes later through Deulofeu. The Catalan side could have then conceded, and, but for a goal line clearance from Jordi Alba, Dani Carvajal would have doubled Madrid’s advantage.
Second half substitute Cristiano Ronaldo was able to squeeze the ball past Ter Stegen in the Barcelona goal, however, celebrations were halted after the linesman raised his flag after the Portuguese star strayed offside.
Barcelona were gifted the opportunity to level the scores with just over 10 minutes remaining after Suárez was adjudged to have been brought down by Keylor Navas inside the penalty area. Messi stepped up to take the spot kick and sent Navas the wrong way, cancelling out Madrid’s advantage.
Madrid restored their lead almost immediately through Ronaldo. After an outstanding counter attack, Ronaldo cut inside onto his right foot and fired the ball into the top corner. The Portuguese star foolishly received a booking during his celebration, something that just three minutes later Ronaldo would pay for.
Tussling with French defender Samuel Umtiti, Ronaldo was given his marching orders after he was adjudged to have simulated contact in search of a penalty. It looked a harsh decision.