Real Madrid have won their fourth UEFA Super Cup title following a 2-1 defeat of Manchester United at the Phillips II Arena in Skopje, Macedonia on Tuesday.
Brazilian midfielder, Casemiro gave the European champions the lead in the 24th minute, before Isco doubled their advantage six minutes after the break.
Romelu Lukaku pulled one back for United just after the hour mark, but it was nothing more than a consolation as Madrid sealed a second consecutive Super Cup title, becoming the first side to do so since AC Milan in 1989, 1990 seasons.
Speaking after the match, United manager, Jose Mourinho said; “We gave them a good fight. My boys have reasons to be optimistic- let’s go for Sunday,” he added.
Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid manager said: “This team does not only have quality and talent, there is a lot of work behind it.”
On a steamy night in Skopje, United found themselves the second best for most of the ninety minutes, as Madrid dominated and meditated the proceedings.
It was the European champions who had the first chance of the match, as Gareth Bale fired a shot off target, before United had a chance of their own minutes later through Henrikh Mkhitaryan, whose attempt to find Lukaku with a pass was intercepted by Luka Modric.
Los Blancos almost took the lead, when Casemiro rattled the bar with a powerful header off a corner kick in the 15th minute, before United turned defense into attack. But Paul Pogba wasted the opportunity as he tried to do too much with the ball, neglecting Jesse Lingard and Mkhitaryan, who were better placed to receive a pass.
Carvajal found his way into the United box moments later, having evaded Lingard superbly, but the England international recovered to clear the ball unto the path of Casemiro, who blasted his shot way off the mark.
With twenty four minutes on the clock, Madrid finally found a breakthrough, as Carvajal played a lovely lobbed pass that went over United’s defense, with Casemiro sliding in to finish from close range to hand his side a 1-0 lead.
As the match approached he half hour mark, the centre referee called for water break, allowing the managers to re-strategise, and the players to cool off.
United had big chances in the 35th minute, when Ander Herrera intercepted a Toni Kroos pass, but only to see an opportunity for a counter attack wasted after Lukaku was flagged offside for interfering with play.
United’s rear guard was called into question again, this time by Karim Benzema, but the Frenchman was denied by a brilliant ave by David de Gea, while at the other end, Keylor Navas also denied Lukaku as the referee brought the first half to an end, with Madrid well worthy of their 1-0 advantage.
Madrid started from where they left off before the break, as De Gea was called into action very early after the restart, but the ex-Atletico Madrid man was equal to the task, as Kroos’s effort from a distance was excellently saved.
The European champions continued to dominate possession, with United happy to sit back and play on the counter.
Six minutes into the second half, United were 2-0 down, as Madrid doubled their advantage. A magnificent play by Madrid saw Isco and Bale exchange a one-two pass, before Isco calmly slotted the ball past the helpless De Gea.
United needed to respond, going two goals down, but Lukaku missed their best chance of the evening, missing from six yards out after Navas had parried a Pogba header into his path.
Mourinho, made a second change, having substituted Marcus Rashford earlier on for Lingard, bringing on Marouane Fellaini for Herrera in the 56th minute.
However, whatever the Belgian was told, it didn’t work as Madrid continued to pile on the pressure, coming close to a third as Bale fired a shot that came off the bar.
Moments later, United had a lifeline, as they pulled a goal back through Lukaku, who atoned for an earlier miss.
Rashford had found Nemanja Matic from the left wing, with the former Chelsea man hitting a ferocious shot which Navas on pushed onto the path of Lukaku, who wasn’t going to miss from six yards out for a second time.
United had a chance to draw level, nine minutes from end time, but Rashford saw a glorious chance go begging, after been played through by Mkhitaryan, though Navas nimbly tipped the ball for a corner.
Despite both sides having chances to add to the score line, notably Asensio, who was denied by another wonderful De Gea save in added time, Madrid held on to seal the win, and lift the UEFA Super Cup for the second consecutive time, becoming the first to do so since AC Milan in 1989 and 1990.
Written by Izu Akawor