Two early goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo undid all Barcelona’s hard work in the first leg as they surrendered a 3-2 aggregate lead to eventually lose their Super Cup title 4-3 overall. Lionel Messi struck back for Barca just before half time after going 2-0 down with a perfectly struck free kick but it was all in vein, especially after Adriano’s early sending off for Barca exacerbated things for an already lackluster Barcelona team.
It is too early to say but Barca were a stark shadow of their former selves this evening as they were outplayed by a vibrant Madrid side. Makeshift defender Javier Mascherano and his defensive partner Gerard Pique struggled to deal with the pace of Cristiano Ronaldo and co and their lack of quality clearly showed through on a miserable evening for Tito Vilanova’s side.
Madrid created the better share of chances throughout the night and despite being five points behind Barca in the La Liga title race, it was evident on tonight’s performance that Madrid possess greater quality as well as the old football adage of ‘strength in depth.’
Madrid showed off their financial muscle as new signing Luka Modric made a brief cameo appearance, harrying and harrassing the Barca midfield, reminding them of perhaps how much Madrid have caught up with fierce rivals Barcelona over the past two years.
Missing Carlos Puyol to an unfortunate cheeky bone injury did not help but should Barca wish to make a fight back for their La Liga crown this year, Tito Vilanova may have to have one last dip in the summer transfer market.