Real Madrid dominated proceedings with the ever-experienced midfield trio of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić dominating possession and dictating the play with class. Whilst the Brazilian winger Vinícius Júnior has been the danger man for ‘Los Blancos’ this season, it was his compatriot, Rodrygo, who was involved in everything going forward for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. His dribbling on the right wing caused all sorts of problems for the opposition defence, and it produced the game’s opening goal. Rodrygo drove forward with the ball on the right-wing before drifting inside to lay the ball off to Modrić, who was waiting on the edge of the area, and made no mistake guiding the ball into the back of the net with a plomb. The goal, his first of the season for Madrid, made the Croatian the oldest ever goalscorer in Supercopa history.
The second half began disastrously for Athletic, as they conceded a second goal in the 52nd minute. Karim Benzema had a shot blocked by Yeray Alvarez, and just as Madrid prepared to take the resulting corner, the referee was advised by the VAR to rewatch the block on the sidelines, and following a lengthy delay, a penalty was awarded to Real for handball – a decision which infuriated the Athletic players and manager, Marcelino. Despite the protests, Benzema stepped up to slot the penalty away to double his side’s lead.
Marcelino, who was incensed at the penalty decision, completely changed his game plan and made a triple substitution as his side looked to show more intent going forward. They pushed forward but struggled to create any significant changes. However, they were handed a lifeline in the 87th minute when, following another VAR review, the referee gave a penalty, this time to Athletic. Éder Militão was also shown a straight red card for denying a goal with his hand, before Raul Garcia stepped up to try and pull a goal back, but was superbly denied by Thibaut Courtois’ incredible save with his leg. The experienced Madrid players saw out the remaining minutes, using all their experience to preserve their two-goal advantage and seal the silverware.
Victory for Real Madrid against Athletic Bilbao is their third H2H win in less than two months, following their league double win in December. Ancelotti will be hoping it is the first of multiple trophies to come this season, as they power ahead in the league.