Sports Mole brings you live coverage of the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Nou Camp.
By Matt Law, European Football Editor Filed: Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 20:30 UK
Last Updated: Friday, August 24, 2012 at 08:27 UK
Good evening and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Nou Camp.
The first El Clasico of the new season promises to be an intense affair with ill-feeling between the two sides still running high.
Madrid proved their domination in Spain by claiming the league title last season, but it was the Catalans who triumphed in the Copa del Rey to set up a two-legged affair against the old enemy.
Barcelona have lost just one of their last eight meetings with Madrid – while they have won each of the last three editions of the Supercopa, against Madrid, Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao.
However, Madrid have lost just one of their last four trips to Barcelona with Jose Mourinho at the helm – and they will be confident of gaining something this evening.
Please note that kickoff is at 9.30pm.
11.26pmSo there we have it. That just about does it for me this evening. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action. See you soon!
11.24pmJust a reminder that the second leg at the Bernabeu will take place next Thursday. You will not want to miss it!
11.22pmWow. An incredible second period is brought to an end with Barcelona running out 3-2 winners. Madrid took the lead with a Ronaldo header in the second period, before goals from Pedro, Messi and Xavi moved Barcelona 3-1 ahead. Madrid remain in the tie, however, with a late strike from Di Maria.
54 minPENALTY SHOUT! It's same man involved as Sanchez dives in the box once more, but the referee does not take his name. That is poor poor play from the Barcelona attacker. It simply has no place in the game.
52 minNormal service is resumed as Barcelona stroke possession around in midfield. But Madrid are having none of it as they close the door time after time.
50 minHowever, Alonso's cross is headed away by Sanchez. Meanwhile, another booking for Madrid as Albiol's name is taken. Correction: Alonso was booked in the first half, not Albiol. Sorry about that.
48 minBarcelona have simply not seen the ball in the second period thus far as Madrid force a free kick outside the box. Is it in range? Ronaldo seems to think so.
46 minDecent spell of possession for Madrid at the start of the second half. I wonder whether we will see them as an attacking threat. Early signs suggest as much.
46 minBarcelona kick us off in the second period. Will we have a goal? Only time will tell.
10.32pmHere we go then, both sets of players are emerging onto the pitch ahead of the second period.
10.30pmMeanwhile, Albiol is walking a fine line following his booking in the opening period. He is perhaps lucky to still be on the field of play.
10.28pmMadrid have Angel di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain on the bench, but there is no place for Kaka. Could that be a sign that he is leaving the club?
10.26pmJust a reminder that Barcelona's new signing Alex Song is not on the bench this evening. However, a certain Spaniard called David Villa is. Not a bad sub I suppose!
10.24pmFormer Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has told Sky Sports News that he thinks Madrid are far too deep. However, they are doing a job on the home side at the moment.
10.22pmMessi and Ronaldo watch: Messi has had the upper hand with two clear chances. Meanwhile, Madrid just have not found Ronaldo in advanced areas. But we are only 45 minutes into proceedings.
10.20pmIn truth, Madrid have not really been in the match, but their defensive work must be admired. They are just such a hard team to break down. Meanwhile, their threat on the counter attack is very apparent.
10.18pmSo there we have it. Barcelona have dominated proceedings but we remain level at 0-0 at the break. Messi might have handed the home side the lead with two clear opportunities, but he struck both wide of the target.
45 minBooking for Barcelona on the stroke of the interval as Mascherano fells Coentrao. And that is just about it for this half.
45 minAnother booking for Madrid as Arbeloa's name is taken for a foul on Iniesta. The game has just become slightly bitty in the past 10 minutes or so.
43 minBig chance for Barcelona as Albiol brings down Xavi on the edge of the box. It might have been another yellow for the Spanish defender - and he could have walked. Meanwhile, Xavi's free kick is deflected behind.
41 minMeanwhile, chance for Barcelona as Xavi strikes from outside the box, but it was always moving high of the crossbar. Little under four minutes of the half remaining.
39 minPENALTY SHOUT! Big shout for a pen as Sanchez goes down in the box under the challenge of Ramos, but the referee waves play on. Replays have shown that it was a clear dive. Well done referee.
37 minWonderful feet from Ronaldo as he dances past Alves, but his low cross is thumped clear by Pique. Madrid need to find their top man - but they will be happy with the score as it stands.
35 minCracking punch from Valdes as he thumps the cross clear of the danger zone. Meanwhile, it's more pass and probe from the home side in the Madrid half.
35 minAgain another Madrid attack breaks down as Busquets deals with the threat of Ozil, however, they gain a corner when Mascherano puts a Coentrao cross behind.
33 minChance! Another opening for Barcelona as Pedro strikes an effort from inside the box, but Casillas makes the save.
31 minOpening for Madrid as Benzema advances into the Barcelona box, but Pique comes across to clear the danger. Meanwhile, Ozil's corner is cleared by Busquets.
29 minChance! Another wonderful opportunity for Messi as he shoots from inside the box, but once more he drags it wide of the post.
28 minAgain it's brilliant defending from Madrid as Coentrao blocks a Xavi shot on the edge of the box. It's all one-way traffic at the moment. The goal appears to be coming.
28 minAnother sighter for Real Madrid as Alves and Messi combine in the box, but Arbeloa comes across to clear the danger. We have not seen an attacking threat from the away side in some time.
26 minWonderful invention from Dani Alves as he attempts to bend a cross into Pedro, but the flag is raised and Iker Casillas resumes the play.
25 min... it's Messi who strikes on goal, but it deflects behind for a corner. The Argentine has not scored in his last four goals against Madrid. He's rubbish that boy!
24 minChance for Barcelona as Arbeloa fells Xavi outside the box. Who will take it for the home side? There are some who could make a case...
24 minSo, half way point of the opening period - and we remain 0-0. As expected, Barcelona have dominated possession, but Madrid are a threat on the counter. I've heard this song before.
22 minBarcelona continue to pass and probe around the Madrid box, but Mourinho's side are just so well-drilled. There is no final ball at the moment.
20 minChance! Clearest opening of the match as Messi picks up the ball in the box, but he just fires it wide of the post.
18 minAnother injection of pace from Messi as he glides into the Madrid half, but he is felled once more. It is just starting to open up.
18 minReally is such a delight to see the way Barcelona pass and move. There is just no other team like it. But Madrid continue to shut the door as Pique fires wide from distance - Mourinho will take that.
16 minMadrid advance straight down the other end with Khedira on the ball, but his cross is poor when he should have done so much better. Madrid are a threat on the counter.
15 minChance! Clear opening for Barcelona as Pedro slips a low cross into the box, but it just would not fall for Messi. Suddenly a bit of pace in the match.
14 minBarcelona want a free kick as Messi is blocked off on the edge of the box, but the referee is not interested. Not a popular decision here as you can imagine.
14 minThe arm-waving has already begun as Coentrao accuses Sanchez of diving - while Xavi's ball is cut out by Albiol. No clear chances for either thus far.
12 minFirst booking of the match goes to Albiol for a late challenge on Xavi. It was not pretty. Meanwhile, it's pass, pass, pass from Barcelona with 12 minutes on the clock.
10 minIt's a strong spell of possession for Madrid as Ronaldo slips in Benzema, but the Frenchman is just crowded out in the box. Strong start from both sides thus far.
8 minEarly intent from Barcelona with Alves and Adriano both pushing on, but Madrid are a strong defensive outfit these days. They might have got in when Ronaldo attempted to find Benzema, but Pique just made the challenge.
6 minUpdate: Mourinho has just poked Vilanova in the eye - just kidding. Meanwhile, Barcelona continue to keep the ball in the Madrid half.
4 minFirst involvement for Ronaldo as he glides past Alves down the right, but a huge cheer goes up as Mascherano fells the Portuguese skipper. He isn't a favourite here!
3 minDecent spell of early possession for the home side with Pique and Busquets enjoying a hint of keep ball. However, it is all sideways at the moment.
2 minFirst foul of the match is committed by Barcelona as Javier Mascherano fells Callejon. However, Alonso finds Sami Khedira in an offside position.
1 minHere we go then. Real Madrid get us underway. Game on in Barcelona.
9.29pmJust a reminder that tonight is the first of two legs. The second will take place at the home of Madrid next Thursday. Handshakes? Check. Flags exchanged? Check. We are moments away.
9.27pmSky Sports News are just showing some of the famous clashes between the two clubs. Ronaldo, Zidane, Figo, Rivaldo - there are no words for those kind of players. Unreal.
9.24pmHere we go then. Both sets of players are emerging onto the pitch. It must be said what a wonderful atmosphere there is inside the Nou Camp. Just imagine this being your place of work. Incredible stadium.
9.21pmSo, we are just about 10 minutes away from kickoff - and it is time for my usual pre-match prediction. I am going for a 1-1 draw this evening.
9.18pmNot that it has much bearing on the new season, but Barcelona won all of their pre-season fixtures. Meanwhile, Real Madrid won all but a defeat to Benfica. It is just going to be such a fascinating contest between the two sides once more.
9.15pmBoth teams recorded away wins against each other in the league last season - with Barcelona running out 3-1 winners in December. Meanwhile, Madrid went a long way to winning the title after securing a 2-1 victory at the Nou Camp at the end of April.
9.12pmSo, each manager has tried to play the match down. But one thing is for certain - both will be desperate to strike the first blow to their rivals this season.
9.09pmMeanwhile, Jose Mourinho stated: "A match between rivals is always important, even in a summer tournament, but the Super Cup is the least important of the four we play during the season. I believe there is no relation between the winner and what is going to happen in the whole season. We lost the Super Cup last season and we won the league breaking records. At Inter (Milan) I also lost the Super Cup and that season we won the treble - the Cup, the Champions League and the league - and with Chelsea we won the Super Cup and didn't win the championship."
9.06pmA word from Tito Vilanova prior to the match: "I don't have anything riding on the result of this game. I like to experience this profession calmly. I am sorry, but there are more important things in my life. I know it is important, but I couldn't do my job properly if I was worrying whether the world would fall on top of me if we lost. Neither team is at its optimum level at present. I don't see much of a difference between them at present," he told Eurosport.
9.03pmMeanwhile, he has scored 13 goals in 19 Clasico encounters in all competitions. Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, scored 60, yes 60 goals for Madrid last season - and he has struck six goals in 16 meetings against the Catalan club.
9pmTonight also sees the meeting of comfortably the best two players in world football. Lionel Messi scored a quite incredible 73 goals for Barcelona last season - not to mention his 29 assists. Yep, you heard it right.
8.57pmSo there we have it. No place in the starting lineup for new Barca signing Alex Song. Meanwhile, David Silva also starts on the bench. Marcelo misses out for Madrid - with Fabio Coentrao preferred on the left side of the defence.
8.54pmBREAKING: Alexis Sanchez and Pedro start for Barcelona. Meanwhile, Jose Callejon is handed a starting berth for Madrid.
8.51pmEight out of the last 10 red cards in El Clasico encounters have also been handed to Madrid - so do not be surprised to see a Madrid player dismissed this evening. My money is on Marcelo.
8.48pmJust a reminder that we are expecting the team news within the next five minutes or so. We will bring you it as soon as it emerges.
8.48pmIn terms of the head-to-head record between the two sides - Madrid lead 87 wins to Barcelona's 86. However, Mourinho's record against Barcelona reads won two, drawn four and lost five. Poor for a man of his such impeccable standard.
8.45pmIt doesn't take much for the two teams to come to blows, which makes it all the stranger when the Spanish national team seem so pally with players from both sides on display. But I suppose when you win every international tournament, you just learn to get along.
8.42pmThere is simply no other way to put what I am about to say - Mourinho poked Vilanova in the eye. You can dress it up any way you like, but that is what happened. It was a poke, no more or no less than that. Comedy at its finest. The clash happened when a Marcelo red card erupted into a scuffle between the two sets of staff - and then IT happened.
8.39pmLast year's meeting between the two - a 5-4 aggregate win for Barcelona - became better known for its antics off-the-field. Tensions may have cooled since then, but there is still underlying ill-feeling between Mourinho and Tito Vilanova.
8.36pmMadrid, however, stumbled to a 1-1 draw at home to Valencia last week - but on another day they might have scored six. One thing is for certain - this evening will be an extremely tight affair.
8.33pmBarcelona began their league season in the best possible fashion last weekend with a 5-1 win over Real Sociedad - with David Villa among the goals on his return to action. It was also Tito Vilanova's first league match in charge of the first team, and he will have been pleased with what he saw.
8.30pmHello all! Did someone say Barcelona vs. Real Madrid? It does not matter if this pair meet in the Champions League, the league, or an egg and spoon race in Benidorm - it is always explosive.