Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Match preview


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Real Madrid will lock horns against arch-rivals FC Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup final on Sunday, following a thrilling 5-3 victory against Atletico Madrid in the semi-final.

Match details

Date: Sunday, 14th January 2024
Competition: Spanish Super Cup
Matchday: Final
Time: 21:00 CEST
Venue: Al-Awwal Park, Riyadh

Match preview

The Madrid derby semi-final proved to be a high-scoring affair with Merengues coming back from behind twice to end the game 3-3 at full time. Joselu’s header and Brahim’s run in extra-time propelled Los Blancos to a 5-3 victory against their city rivals.

FC Barcelona on the other hand, played out a rather comfortable victory against Osasuna with Robert Lewandowski and 16-year-old Lamine Yamal scoring the two goals. İIkay Gündogǎn put on an impressive show and played a pivotal role in the midfield.

The last time these two sides met this season was in October in La Liga. A magnificent brace from Jude Bellingham in the second half gave the men in white an important victory in that match.

This season, the Catalans have not been as defensively solid as they were last season and have been caught out on multiple occasions. Offensively, they have created the most big chances in the league (73) and also missed the most (50), which shows that their attackers have not been clinical enough.

Speaking about the starting lineup, Ancelotti in the pre-match press conference said: “I already know the XI for tomorrow but I am not going to say it.” Most of the lineup is easier to predict. However, the goalkeeping spot is up for debate and Lunin may start today after a poor show from Kepa in the semi-final.

Defensively, there was an injury scare to Dani Carvajal but Ancelotti has ensured that he’s fine and ready to go for this fixture. Nacho and Rüdiger would be the center-back pairing.

The Italian manager was full of praise for Ferland Mendy and said: “When fit, Ferland Mendy is the best left back in the world defensively. Offensively he can improve, the other day he scored a goal.”

Fede Valverde might be the first name on the team sheet for Ancelotti in every match this season because of what he gives to the team – this time, it would be no different.

Toni Kroos, despite being booed for the majority of the semi-final, had a good game and he is expected to replace Modric in the eleven.

Los Blancos are yet to lose a game this season when Aurélien Tchouaméni starts and the fans would want this record to stay intact.

Although Jude Bellingham has not scored in the last three games, he has shown that he can contribute more to the team than just goals and assists. The Englishman will also be looking to win his first trophy with the club.

Vinícius Júnior was the focal point for Madrid’s 3rd goal in the last game as it was his run and shot saved by Oblak, which led to Carvajal scoring on the rebound after Jude tried his luck.

Ronaldo Araújo will be the man to mark him – expectedly – and may take the center-back role as the Brazilian now plays more centrally instead of the wings. Rodrygo will partner up with his Brazilian counterpart in front of goal.

Players from both sides would want to put on a show for the fans watching and also because there is a title at stake in Saudi Arabia. Will it be the Catalans to win consecutive Spanish Cups, or will the Merengues extend their illustrious silverware? It remains to be seen.

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