2017/18 – UEFA Super Cup – Real Madrid – Final

Manchester United were beaten 2-1 by Real Madrid missing their third opportunity to lift the UEFA Super Cup. Casemiro scored an offside goal in the 24th minute of the match and Isco putting his side 2-0 up in the 52nd minute. Romelu Lukaku scored ten minutes later to put United back. Marcus Rashford had a few chances to get something back for United with Marouane Fellaini, who received a head injury also having a chance to get on the score sheet. United looked out of their depth in the first half and brought the game to the Madrid side in the second half, looking much better.

Jose Mourinho started a strong side against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup showing United’s strength but also having the likes of Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford on the bench, showing strength-in-depth. Both United and Real Madrid started brightly with Gareth Bale, the man of the moment in the media trying to get the better of United, but failing to. Henrikh Mkhitaryan had a chance up the other end, seemingly fouled, going down at the edge of the box, nothing given by the referee as the Armenian went down too easily. United’s positioning and the ability of Nemanja Matic were both good in the opening stages of the match.

In the 16th minute of the match, Casemiro was close to breaking the deadlock with a header, which struck the crossbar. Real Madrid seemed comfortable in possession and had the lion’s share of the ball, even in United’s final third. Unite, however, were doing all they needed to in order to keep the Champions League holders at bay. In the 22nd minute, Real Madrid were in the attack through Luka Modric, but Matic stood his ground and forced the Croatian to shoot, level with the goal line, straight into the hands of David De Gea. Real Madrid took the lead with Casemiro offside at the time the ball was played. Perhaps the referee and his assistants should have done their jobs properly, spotting the offside, but no!

In the 30th minute of the match, because of the temperature in Skopje, a drinks break was signalled delaying the match for three minutes. There will be another in the 75th minute of the match also. The break only lasted two minutes before play continued. United had the chance to create something from a free-kick, taken by Ander Herrera, but the ball went out of play. Minutes later, United had the chance to attack through Romelu Lukaku, but funnily enough, the linesman found his flag and waved it for offside. Antonio Valencia created something for United, opening space in the final third with Henrikh Mkhitaryan pushing through but the ball going out of play.

Jesse Lingard was booked in the 42nd minute for a challenge in Isco followed by Real Madrid getting another chance on goal with Modric down in the box and the Spanish side still pushing. United cleared the threat with a great save from De Gea to deny the team that wants him from scoring again. United had another chance to score with Pogba doing well to get the ball and it then being put into the box for Lukaku to have a header on goal, but with the ball heading straight into the arms of Keylor Navas. At the break, Real Madrid were 1-0 up from Casemiro’s ‘offside’ goal with all to play for in the second half for United.

At the start of the second half, Mourinho made a change with Marcus Rashford replacing Lingard. Straight away Real Madrid were looking to increase the gap between the two side with Chris Smalling, yes, I know, cutting out the chance and clearing for United. Toni Kroos has a shot on goal by De Gea made a diving save to deny the German from finding the back of the net. Marcelo had the chance seconds later to cause some damage with Smalling stretching to deflect the shot, giving a corner away after Mkhitaryan was dispossessed. Rashford then made the run with Casemiro thwarting his chance. United made some ground by Madrid cleared up and got on with the game.

United conceded a second goal through Isco, created by Bale with Victor Lindelof being drawn out of position to see the Spanish champions 2-0 up. At the other end of the pitch, Pogba had a chance on goal, hitting it straight to Navas who parried with Lukaku heading over the crossbar. United had the chance to get back into the game with the players bottling their efforts. Marouane Fellaini had been warming up and was called back to the bench after the second goal, coming in in place of Herrera. In the 60th minute, Bale had the chance to make it 3-0 but Bale hit the crossbar and United then gained possession through De Gea after the rebound.

United got one back through Lukaku in the 62nd minute after some good play from United. Matic’s shot was parried and the Belgian striker put the ball into the back of the net. United were back in the game, still needing to do a lot to get level on terms, but United were not going to give up. United had some good spells, which is encouraging with Rashford not afraid to take his man on and try to create something. Real Madrid were resolute though. In the 73rd minute, there was another water break with Zinedine Zidane making two substitutions with Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio replacing Isco and Bale.

Just after the restart Matic played a great ball into the box with Fellaini rising for the header and catching Ramos with his head, which was meant for the ball. United seem determined to get something from this match. Fellaini had some treatment to his head after the clash with Ramos. United had a great chance through Rashford, one-on-one with the keeper, slotting the ball through his legs, going out for a corner, coming to nothing for United. Madrid were straight on the attack with Darmian eventually closing down the threat. Cristiano Ronaldo replaced Karim Benzema in the 83rd minute of the match.

Dani Carvajal was booked for a challenge on Rashford in the 84th minute with a free-kick given. Rashford took it, hitting it too high and out for a goal kick. Ramos was booked in the last five minutes of the match for a poor challenge on Pogba, holding his face as soon as he tripped the Frenchman, then was astounded that he was booked for the challenge. Not sure he can get away with his cheating for much longer. So glad United did not sign him when they were interested in him. In the 89th minute, Valencia put in a decent block to deny a goalscoring opportunity, giving away a corner.

Toni Kroos took the corner, Ramos got his head to it and it made no threat to United. The Red Devils were given a throw in in the last minute of normal time, Lukaku throwing a foul throw in. United on the ball again, pushing forward through Valencia, who crossed into Fellaini who headed towards Navas, thwarting United’s late effort. De Gea made a save at the other end of the pitch from Asensio, denying Real Madrid their third goal. Rashford was booked in the fourth minute of added time for a foul on Vazquez, who made a lot more of the challenge than he needed too. Pogba was receiving treatment for a cut above his eye with United down to ten. United

Rashford was booked in the fourth minute of added time for a foul on Vazquez, who made a lot more of the challenge than he needed too. Pogba was receiving treatment for a cut above his eye with United down to ten. United were beaten 2-1 with Real Madrid taking home the trophy.

Goals: Romelu Lukaku 62′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Darmian; Herrera (Fellaini 56′), Matic, Pogba; Mkhitaryan, Lukaku, Lingard (Rashford 46′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Blind; Carrick, Mata; Martial

Bookings: Jesse Lingard 42′, Marcus Rashford 90+4′

copyright: JW