Match Analysis: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona

Match Analysis: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you match analysis of the Spanish Super Cup second leg that finished Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona.

Real Madrid secured the first piece of silverware of the Spanish season with a 2-1 win over Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup this evening.

Goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo cancelled out Lionel Messi's stunning free kick in an eventful first half that saw Barcelona reduced to 10 men.

Neither side could add to the scoreline during the second period, giving Jose Mourinho an early win over Tito Vilanova.

Here, Sports Mole dissects the second El Clasico in the space of a week.

Match Statistics:

Real Madrid:
Shots: 18
On target: 7
Possession: 46%
Fouls: 16

Shots: 10
On target: 4
Possession: 54%
Fouls: 8

Was the result fair?

You'd have to say yes, if only based on the first-half display. Real Madrid were completely dominant throughout the first 45 minutes, and should have been a lot more than one goal up at the break. Barcelona arguably edged the second half, despite having a man fewer, but over the course of the match Madrid were deserved winners.

Real Madrid's performance

Much improved from their 2-1 loss against Getafe at the weekend. Jose Mourinho challenged his players to respond and they did. Their first-half display made Barcelona look as poor as I've ever seen them, and they seemed dangerous every time they went forward. The second half was less impressive, but they still did exactly what they needed to do.

Barcelona's performance

Highly disappointing for a team many consider to be one of the greatest of all time. Of course, they will have off days, but their first-half performance was diabolical. Messi's free kick in the 44th minute was his side's first shot of the game while Madrid could have easily been 5-0 up by then. Better in the second half, dictating the play despite being a man down, but Vilanova will be disappointed overall.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Gonzalo Higuain. The striker's finishing was far from perfect - he should have netted at least a hat-trick - but he continually found space between Barcelona's centre-back partnership of Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano and caused havoc throughout the first half. Marcelo and Ronaldo also played well, while Mascherano atoned for his early error with some fine challenges.

Biggest gaffe

Either of the Real Madrid goals. Mascherano was at fault for Higuain's opener, completely misjudging a long ball forward, allowing the striker a clear run on goal, while Pique must take the balme for Ronaldo's goal, failing to deal with another long ball. If I had to choose between the two, though, I'd go for Mascherano's as Ronaldo still had a lot to do to finish his, while Higuain had it laid on a plate for him.

Referee's performance

There is no doubt that being the referee in a match between Real Madrid and Barcelona is among the toughest jobs in world football, but tonight's official did well. There was the usual amount of feigning injury and diving, which he sometimes fell for and sometimes didn't, but he got the big decision - Adriano's sending-off - spot on.

What next?

Real Madrid: Madrid will look to get their first La Liga win of the current campaign after a slow start when they face Granada at the Bernabeu on Sunday.

Barcelona: Barcelona, meanwhile, will look to continue their perfect start to the league season with a tough fixture against Valencia at the Nou Camp, also on Sunday.

Real Madrid
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Result: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona
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