According to reports by DailyMail, Real Madrid’s goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois played the role of a hero as his team won the Spanish Super Cup on penalties. Dani Carvajal scored the first kick. Saul then hit the foot of Courtois’ left post. Rodrygo Goes put his penalty into the roof of the net to make it 2-0 to Real. And when Thomas Partey stepped up Courtois saved well to his right.
That meant that when Luka Modric scored his penalty it was 3-0 and Kieran Trippier had to score. He did, but Sergio Ramos rolled his penalty in and Madrid celebrated their first silverware of the season. Before the shoot-out there was a showdown of a different sorts with Fede Valverde cynically chopping Alvaro Morata down as he was through on goal with three minutes left. He saw straight red and as players squared up Angel Correa, Carvajal and Stefan Savic were all booked. Valverde had taken one for the team and it would all be worth it when Courtois made his mark.
This was the game contested between two teams whose stadiums are 10 miles apart, played 4,000 miles from Spain at the King Abdullah Sports Village in Jeddah. The Super Cup final traditionally pitting the Spanish Cup winners against the Liga champions, but on this occasion played out by two teams who had won neither the previous season. It was not a sell-out. Fans who had wanted to see Lionel Messi stayed away with 59,000 in 62,000 arena. And after the epic Barcelona v Atletico semi-final there an underwhelming 90 minutes served up without goals before the match came alive in extra-time.
Madrid shaded a tight first half with Atletico keeper Jan Oblak saving well from Casemiro and then Luka Modric. He made another save at his near post from Ferland Mendy just before the break. Madrid maintained the upper hand at the restart with the lively Luka Jovic taking a pass from Modric and twisting one way and the other to escape the attention of Kieran Trippier and Felipe before pulling his shot just wide. Jovic did well again playing the ball out to Mendy moments later. His cross looked perfect for Valverde to head his team into the lead but in an attempt to power the ball down into the ground he headed it against his own knee, and it rebounded wide.
Atletico had their best chance of the game 10 minutes from time when Kieran Trippier lofted the perfect pass over the top of Real Madrid’s defence and Alvaro Morata just had to apply the finishing touch. He couldn’t beat Thibaut Courtois who saved well at his near post. The game was opening up now with the galloping Fede Valverde enjoying the space on one marauding run that saw him nutmeg Saul and produce a deep cross that found no finish. Mariano was now on for Jovic and got away from Trippier only for Saul to come across and salvage the situation with a ball-winning challenge. Rodrygo, also on as a second half substitute, also had the chance to win it late but Oblak saved his low shot.
With the last kick of normal time Thomas Partey tried to catch out Courtois with a clever free kick at his near post but the keeper smothered the shot. The extra half-hour looked like being hard on Sergio Ramos who had his right ankle heavily bandaged before the restart having fallen badly on it in the second half. It would be tough on Atletico too having played their semi-final a day after Madrid. Courtois saved well again from Vitolo at the start of the first period of extra time and Oblak then saved from Modric and Mariano at the start of the second half. With four minutes left Morata was put through on goal and Valverde chopped him down cynically to earn a red card and give Atletico a free kick which Trippier sent into the wall. There was still time for Thibaut to save from Correa… and then from Thomas from the spot to win the final.