MOTM: Nemanja Matic the player to shine against Real Madrid; Marouane Fellaini and Antonio Valencia impress also

Manchester United were defeated 2-1 by Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup in Skopje, Macedonia on Tuesday evening. In the first half, United were being beaten by the Spanish champions and UEFA Champions League holders, the likes of Gareth Bale, Isco, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric getting the better of the Red Devils, who still had a long way to go to reach the pinnacle of European football once again. In the 24th minute, albeit an offside goal, Casemiro broke the deadlock to put Madrid in the driving seat and there were many chances coming before the end of the first half. Just seven minutes after the break, Isco doubled the Spanish side’s lead. United, who looked much better in the second half got a goal back in the 62nd minute through Romelu Lukaku with United having the chance to get themselves back into the match, which did not come despite attempts from Marouane Fellaini and Marcus Rashford. This United side will learn more from the defeat than they would have gained from the win, just in time for the start of the new Premier League season. Here are the Man of the Match contenders from the defeat to Real Madrid.

Nemanja Matic

The Serbian made his competitive debut for United against Real Madrid, previously playing 45 minutes against Sampdoria almost a week ago. There were doubts that the former Chelsea midfielder would be able to play against the Spanish side having not played a full pre-season, like most of his new teammates. Matic did start and played 90 minutes, plus added time against the La Liga and UEFA Champions League holders, show the reasons why Jose Mourinho wanted the player at the club. The £35 million signing impressed against the best team in Europe and the World getting one interception, two blocks, three tackles, winning 100% of them, also completing 100% of his dribbles. Many will now see why Matic will be pitted as the signing of the summer for United, even ahead of Romelu Lukaku, who scored United’s only goal in Skopje. Matic will be an integral figure in United’s side this season, easing the burden on Michael Carrick, giving United more options.

Marouane Fellaini

It would be safe to say the Belgian is amongst the most hated played ar United at this time. Many do not rate as he has, at times, been the weak link in the side. That said, without Fellaini, United’s success would not have been as easy to reach as it was last season. Scoring crucial goals to get United into finals, also doing more than he needed to do at times. When Fellaini replaced Ander Herrera against Real Madrid, United’s game changed. The formation, the system, and United’s threat. United did have chances in the first half but they were not as clear-cut as the chances in the second. A great chance by Paul Pogba, a header from Fellaini, a run from Marcus Rashford which saw the ball deflect from the keeper and go out for a corner. It was not all down to Fellaini if anything was down to solely him. but he helped change the game in the second half when he came on. The head injury sustained with a clash of heads with Sergio Ramos was unfortunate, but Fellaini’s strength shone through, continuing the game and trying to change it. Fellaini is rated by Jose Mourinho, we cannot change that. Some love him, some hate him. Fellaini is like Marmite. I would rather have the big Belgian in the team than see United play against him.

Antonio Valencia

The Ecuadorian will not be happy with the result, but days before United start their season proper, he will understand that United needed that match against Real Madrid in order to find a few truths. United have a long way to go and those who chose to ignore that, have now been reminded. Valencia has turned back the years, defending well, attacking well and just generally being that player United and Mourinho can rely on. Finding a replacement for Valencia will be a problem for United but in the meantime. having him in the side is a great thing. Against Real Madrid, Valencia tried to do the dirty work, was caught out at times, but who wasn’t and who does not get caught out during a match? Nobody is that flawless. The Ecuadorian’s experience will be something which will help United through the season whereby United will be expected to challenge for the Premier League title, something which may yet be beyond their reach, but we will soon see how the season prevails, starting with West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday.


Manchester United did not win. It would have been great to win the UEFA Super Cup for the second time in the history of the club but at the end of the day, it just did not happen. United found out the gap between them and the likes of Real Madrid, which in the second half did not look all that much, but form is something that does not even play a part yet and the differences could be a lot closer, or a lot more distant as the season progresses. United may well meet Real Madrid in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, which would be part of a tough group, of which United will need to get used to. The fact that Romelu Lukaku scored his first competitive goal for United sees him off to a fine start, much like Zlatan Ibrahimovic last season in the FA Community Shield. The result was not the greatest, but the gap was not that big, based on the score line and the chances created. United were not afraid of Real Madrid, Marcus Rashford was not afraid either, which bodes well. United may have a gap to fill in getting to the same or similar level as the Spanish champions, but nothing is impossible.

Report: Lukaku scores but Manchester United were defeated in Skopje

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′

Starting XI: Lukaku leads the line; Matic, Pogba, and Herrera control the midfield

Manchester United are pitted against reigning La Liga and UEFA Champions League holders Real Madrid to contest the UEFA Super Cup in Skopje, Macedonia this evening. United, the winners of the UEFA Europa League last season earned the right to face the Spanish side by lifting that trophy in Stockholm, Sweden, also earning a place in the group stage of the Champions League this season after an 18 month period of not playing in the elite European competition. United manager Jose Mourinho already knew he would be without both Eric Bailly and Phil Jones because of suspension, leaving him with Chris Smalling, Daley Blind and new summer signing Victor Lindelof as experienced central defenders for the match. Axel Tuanzebe could be involved but Marcos Rojo, who is recovering from a knee injury sustained in the secondary European competition last season remains out of action until the end of the year. Here is United’s starting XI to face Real Madrid.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Darmian;

Herrera, Matic, Pogba;

Mkhitaryan, Lukaku, Lingard


Romero; Blind; Carrick, Fellaini, Mata; Martial, Rashford

United and Real Madrid have played ten competitive matches in the history of both clubs, not many considering both have been around for well over 100 years. United have won only two matches, with the Madrid side winning four, there also being four draws between the two clubs. All of the matches had previously been played in the European Cup or the UEFA Champions League, which it later became and United have only prevailed once over the Spanish side winning on aggregate in 1968, the year they won their first European Cup. United did beat Madrid back in 2003 but lost on aggregate, which took the good feeling away from the victory. United though, have beaten Real Madrid recently, albeit on penalties, in the International Champions Cup in Santa Clara, California – which effectively means nothing, but gives United a *slight* advantage over Zinedine Zidane’s side.

Preview: Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United to prevail in Skopje and bring the UEFA Super Cup home…

Real Madrid -v- Manchester United

UEFA Super Cup 2017

Philip II Arena, Skopje, Macedonia

Tuesday 8th August 2017; KO 19:45 BST

Live on BT Sport in the United Kingdom

Manchester United face Real Madrid in their last summer match, a head to head to contest the UEFA Super Cup. The match will be played in Skopje, Macedonia and will be the clubs first competitive fixture of the summer and a good test to ready themselves for West Ham United in the opening Premier League match of the season on Sunday afternoon at Old Trafford. United, led by Jose Mourinho, have had a good summer, playing seven pre-season matches, winning six, one on penalties, the International Champions Cup clash against Real Madrid. This will be the second time Mourinho and Zinedine Zidane will have gone against each other this summer. United are in good strength ahead of the new season but with Eric Bailly and Phil Jones suspended for this fixture, the defence will be much weaker. Bailly was sent off in the UEFA Europa League semi-final against Celta Vigo, missing the final then handed a further two-match suspension, missing this match in the first UEFA Champions League match of the new season. Jones was banned following a disagreement with a doping official, handed a £4,500 fine and a two-match ban.

Mourinho has strength-in-depth ahead of the match though with new signing Victor Lindelof settling into the club, Matteo Darmian the best choice in the left-back role, at this stage at least and Antonio Valencia turning back the years and showing his abilities in the right-back position which has seen him maraud up the right flank and help the teams attacking players get the better of their opposition. United strikers are in good stead with Romelu Lukaku coming in this summer from Everton, Marcus Rashford raring to go and Anthony Martial putting a poor season behind him and showing his class again. Many will savour what he did against Dani Carvajal in the pre-season match, all but Carvajal himself. The midfield has strengthened also with Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera looking to continue where they left last season with new signing Nemanja Matic looking to shore up the midfield and do what he did for Mourinho in his last Premier League title victory, an adequate replacement for captain Michael Carrick.

United will be looking to get the better of Real Madrid in a competitive match for the first time since 1968 when they knocked the club out of the European Cup. United and Real Madrid have played ten competitive matches, two won by United, four by Real Madrid and four draws. Mourinho will face his former club, managing them from 2010 to 2013, winning the Copa del Rey in his first season, the La Liga in his second, becoming the fifth manager to win league titles in five countries, which will be something Mourinho will be targeting this season with United, challenging the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal to return to the top in the English top-flight once again, the first time post-Sir Alex Ferguson.

Previous Matches: 10 competitive matches, two wins for United, apart from 1968, Real Madrid have the advantage

Manchester United and Real Madrid have met ten times in competitive matches with United winning twice, Real Madrid winning four times and the two sides drawing four times. Whilst United have not been all that lucky against the side; losing 5-3 on aggregate in the European Cup in 1957, just before that fateful trip to Belgrade which ended in disaster in Munich, then the 4-3 aggregate victory in the same competition in 1968, the year United reached the promised time for the first time. United met the Madrid side again in 200, losing 3-2 on aggregate, meeting again in 2003 and despite winning 4-3 at Old Trafford, United lost 6-5 on aggregate. In 2013, the last competitive fixtures between the clubs, United lost 3-2 on aggregate. United though have beaten Real Madrid in pre-season, which counts for nothing. Could this be that fits competitive victory over Real Madrid which means something?

Pre-Season Form: United beat Real Madrid 2-1 on penalties a few weeks back, but this is a different occasion

Manchester United have played seven matches this pre-season, five of which were played in the United States of America. United beat LA Galaxy 5-2 in their first match of the summer, then going onto beat Real Salt Lake 2-1 in the second. United then participated in the International Champions Cup facing Manchester City, winning 2-0, Real Madrid, beating them 2-1 on penalties after a 1-1 90-minute draw and Barcelona, losing in a 1-0 defeat which was a very close match. United then heading back to Europe, facing Valerenga in Oslo, winning 3-0, their first win against the side after a previous 0-0 draw in the city. The last pre-season match came against Sampdoria in Dublin with United winning 2-1 in the Irish capital. The match against Real Madrid will be Jose Mourinho’s eighth match of the summer in preparation for the Premier League season which commences on Sunday at Old Trafford against West Ham United.

Team News: Eric Bailly and Phil Jones miss the match through suspension

Jose Mourinho will be without both Eric Bailly and Phil Jones through suspension, both will miss the first UEFA Champions League match also. Luke Shaw, Ashley Young, and Marcos Rojo will all remain on the sidelines through injury despite travelling to Skopje to see their side face UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid. Nemanja Matic, Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof could all make their competitive debuts for their new side with Mourinho looking to cause damage against the best team in Europa and currently the world. Gareth Bale could be a doubt for the Madrid side with an ankle injury plaguing him throughout the summer and Cristiano Ronaldo has been named in the 24-man squad, returning to training last week.

Predicted Starting XI: Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to test Real Madrid’s defence?

Match Prediction: Manchester United to prevail in their second UEFA Super Cup victory…

Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester United

Scouting The Opposition: Real Madrid aiming to continue European domination in the UEFA Super Cup

Manchester United go head to head with UEFA Champions League and La Liga holders Real Madrid in Skopje, Macedonia on Tuesday evening to contest for the UEFA Super Cup. United last won the cup in 1991 after lifting the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup, also playing in the European opening twice; in 1999 and 2008 – losing both matches. Real Madrid have played in this cup five times, winning three times; 2002, 2015 and 2016. This will be their sixth time in the competition. United will be making their fourth appearance. Real Madrid and their team of galacticos will be looking to dominate European football once again by holding the Champions League and Super Cup at the same time for successive seasons. United will be looking to lift the trophy once again after two failed attempts in the last 18 years.

Real Madrid won La Liga last season, beating rivals Barcelona to the title, their first title in five years. Zinedine Zidane’s los blancos are as competitive as ever, losing Alvaro Morata this summer, who was linked to United and eventually signed for Chelsea and even failed to get a penalty on target in the FA Community Shield defeat to Arsenal on Sunday, which showed United had done much better in signing Romelu Lukaku from Everton for a fee fewer than the Madrid club wanted for the Spanish striker. Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are both back in action for the club. The former not involved in any of the pre-season matches of the summer which saw United beat the Madrid club, albeit on penalties in the International Champions Cup in Santa Clara last month.

Manager: Zinedine Zidane

The 45-year-old French manager was once a world record signing for Real Madrid after transferring from Italian side Juventus for €77.5 million. Zinedine Zidane has literally done it all in the game. Whilst playing for Bordeaux, signing for them after starting his senior career at Cannes, Zidane won the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1995. The Frenchman then moved to Juventus where he won the Serie A title twice, one Supercoppa Italiana, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, and one UEFA Intertoto Cup. After arriving at Real Madrid, Zidane won one La Liga, one Supercopa de España, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup, and one Intercontinental Cup. Whilst playing for France, Zidane was just as successful winning the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and the European Championships in 2006, also the runners-up in the World Cup in 2006. Zidane started his management career at Real Madrid Castilla and since becoming the permanent manager of Real Madrid he has won one La Liga title, two UEFA Champions League trophies, one UEFA Super Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup.

Key Player: Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Manchester United back in the summer of 2003, replacing David Beckham, who signed for Real Madrid that summer. Ronaldo was a star at United with Sir Alex Ferguson getting the best out of the player with him becoming a world star in a few years. In 2008. Ronaldo helped United to the UEFA Champions League and Premier League double, the most successful season in his United career. The club did make the Champions League final in 2009 also but were beaten by a resolute Barcelona side. Ronaldo left United for a then world record fee of £80 million that summer signing for Real Madrid, a club he promised his late father he would play for. Ronaldo continued to break records and to this day he has scored 406 goals in 394 competitive appearances, which is a great record for the forward, who has been missed at United. Ronaldo has shone against his former club and despite it being suggested he would have a longer summer break after playing in the Confederations Cup in the summer, Ronaldo is back and training and could play a part in the UEFA Super Cup.

Previous Matches:

Manchester United and Real Madrid have met ten times in competitive matches with United winning twice, Real Madrid winning four times and the two sides drawing four times. Whilst United have not been all that lucky against the side; losing 5-3 on aggregate in the European Cup in 1957, just before that fateful trip to Belgrade which ended in disaster in Munich, then the 4-3 aggregate victory in the same competition in 1968, the year United reached the promised time for the first time. United met the Madrid side again in 200, losing 3-2 on aggregate, meeting again in 2003 and despite winning 4-3 at Old Trafford, United lost 6-5 on aggregate. In 2013, the last competitive fixtures between the clubs, United lost 3-2 on aggregate. United though have beaten Real Madrid in pre-season, which counts for nothing. Could this be that fits competitive victory over Real Madrid which means something?

Pre-Season Form:

Real Madrid have played four of their five pre-season matches this summer, not winning a single match in 90 minutes. The Spanish champions pre-season started with the 1-1 draw against Manchester United in the International Champions Cup with United winning 2-1 on penalties, which were a farce with most players missing the target. Manchester City were their next opposition with United’s noisy neighbours beating the side 4-1. The final match of the International Champions Cup was against Barcelona, an El Classico with the Catalan side winning 3-2. Real Madrid then took on the MLS All-Stars, drawing 1-1 after 90 minutes, but winning 4-2 on penalties. United will be the clubs fifth match this summer, not a pre-season friendly though before they play their last against Fiorentina on the 23rd August at the Santiago Bernabeu which comes three days after the La Liga season starts with an away to Deportivo La Coruña.

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester United

copyright: JW