Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-1 to win Super Cup in Saudi Arabia

Barcelona’s Pedri celebrates after he scored during the final of the Spanish Super Cup between Barcelona and Real Madrid in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2023. (AP Photo

Barcelona won the Spanish Super Cup for the first time since the competition was revamped and moved to Saudi Arabia with a 3-1 victory over Real Madrid on Sunday.

Robert Lewandowski, Gavi and Pedri scored a goal each at King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh to give Barcelona its first Super Cup trophy since 2018 — and its 14th overall — and the first since the tournament began being played in a Final Four format in 2020 in a lucrative deal for the Spanish soccer federation.
It was also Barcelona’s first title since former player Xavi took over as the team’s coach in 2021, and since Lionel Messi left for Paris Saint-Germain.

Gavi opened the scoring in the 33rd minute from close range after a pass by Lewandowski, who doubled the lead after an assist by Gavi in a breakaway just before the end of the first half. Gavi also set up Pedri’s close-range goal in another breakaway in the 69th.
Karim Benzema scored for Madrid late in stoppage time.

Madrid was trying to win its second consecutive Super Cup title in Saudi Arabia, and equal Barcelona’s record of 13 Super Cup trophies.

Madrid eliminated Barcelona in last season’s semifinals, but the Spanish powerhouses had never met in the final of the revamped competition.
Both teams needed penalty shootouts to edge their opponents in the semifinals. Madrid beat Valencia and Barcelona defeated Real Betis.

Barcelona had not lifted a trophy since the 2021 Copa del Rey under former coach Ronald Koeman. That was Messi’s 35th and final title with Barcelona before leaving amid the club’s financial struggles.

Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 at home in the first “clásico” of the season at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in the Spanish league in October.
The Super Cup used to be played between the Spanish league champion and the Copa del Rey winner. Now the runners-up in both competitions also participate. Madrid played as the league champion and Barcelona as the league runner-up. Betis won the Copa title over Valencia last season.
The current contract to play the Super Cup in Saudi Arabia runs through the 2024-25 season.

Atlético Madrid was held to a 1-1 draw at Almería in the Spanish league, staying in fourth place and tied on points with fifth-place Villarreal and sixth-place Real Betis.

Ángel Correa put Atlético ahead in the 18th but El Bilal Touré equalized for the hosts in the 37th. Atlético defender Sergio Reguilón entered the match as a substitute in the 67th but was sent off with consecutive yellow cards in the 89th.
Atlético was coming off a 1-0 home loss to leader Barcelona, which is 13 points ahead of Atlético.

Almería, winless in three straight league games, stayed in 13th place.

Earlier Sunday, Espanyol moved further from the relegation zone with a 2-1 win at Getafe, with Joselu scoring the opening goal for the hosts with a shot from near the halfway line as the Getafe goalkeeper got caught out of position.
Defending league champion Madrid is in second place and Real Sociedad, which beat Athletic Bilbao 3-1 in the Basque Country derby on Saturday, is third.

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