Barcelona 3, Real Madrid 2
Barcelona gave themselves the edge in the two-game tie for the Spanish Supercopa last night at Camp Nou, beating Real Madrid in a contest they completely dominated but somehow only won by a single goal.
Despite claiming over 70% of the possession throughout the match, it was Madrid and - inevitably - Ronaldo who struck first, as the Portuguese striker powered in a well won header from a corner. Barcelona's response was almost instantaneous. From the resulting kick-off Mascherano played a fantastic long ball for Pedro whose sublime control, as he appeared behind Coentrao, allowed him to finish with relative ease.
Barca doubled their lead when Ramos felled Iniesta with a crude challenge at the edge of the area, with Messi slotting home the penalty. Minutes later and Iniesta bamboozled two white shirts and drew another out of position to set up an easy one on one chance for Xavi against Iker Casillas, which the midfielder duly tucked away.
3-1 might have been a fair reflection of the game, but Valdes miscontrolled a routine Adriano back pass and then compounded his mistake by trying to play his way out of trouble. Di Maria bowled over the hapless keeper, and with no foul given, turned the ball into the empty net to give Madrid a real chance to turn things around in the second leg.
The first of what could be many Clasicos this season was certainly full of quality, and encouragingly from a Barca point of view the initial signs are that they have it in them to reassert their authority on La Liga and win the title back from the capital - esp. with Real Madrid dropping two points in their opening game against Valencia. With Barcelona reinforcing their squad with Spanish left back Jordi Alba and former Arsenal man, the all-action midfielder Alex Song, they appear to have a stronger squad than last season. Madrid meanwhile are still trying to negotiate a fee for Tottenham's Luka Modric, who could provide them with extra creative dynamism in midfield.