Athletic Bilbao v Real Madrid – Football Match Report – 16th January 2022

Real Madrid were crowned Spanish Super Cup champions after goals from Luka Modric 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 moving past Modric, who fired a shot into the net.

Benzema extended their second-half lead with a penalty after the video assistant referee spotted a Yeray Alvarez handball inside the box.

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Real were reduced to 10 men with three minutes left after Eder Militao was sent off for a handball on the goal line.

Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved Raul Garcia’s penalty with a left foot in the dying seconds.

“You can never get tired of winning,” Modric told a press conference.

“I appreciate the same with every title, when you play at Real Madrid you have to win. It’s part of the DNA of this club. The fans expect the most from you. So now we have to be happy to win again and again in the next month.”

After two thrilling semi-finals, the final was a one-sided encounter, with Real Madrid completely dominating and never facing any real danger.

Real enjoyed the vast majority of support from the 30,000 fans at the King Fahd Stadium, which was at 50% capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

French striker Karim Benzema had the support of Saudi fans, but it was Modric’s night.

“As I have reached a certain age, and people talk a lot about age in football, but I appreciate it more than ever,” Modric said. “I always liked it, I like what I do, but now I like it even more because you never know how long you’re going to last at this level.

“I’m doing everything to continue for a few more years. I’m trying hard, and there’s nothing better for me than being a Real Madrid player, enjoying every day and winning trophies. That’s 18 now in nine and one- six months and I hope more will come.”

Carlo Ancelotti had said in the build-up to the match that his side were the essence of a counter-attacking team and on Sunday Modric and striker Rodrygo would have done their manager proud with a perfectly executed counter to open the scoring.

“I think with the two games we played here, we were the team that deserved the trophy,” Ancelotti said after the game. “We played two different games and won both. Today we asked for a different type of game, we controlled it for 70 minutes with possession and then we went down a bit but that can happen in the final. It’s deserved, we are happy and we will continue.”

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 a team in his career.

It was the 12th time Real won the Spanish Super Cup, having won both editions of the competition in Saudi Arabia. Last year’s edition, won by Athletic, was held in Spain due to the pandemic.

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