Real Madrid thrashes old rivals Barcelona, 4-1, to win Spanish Super Cup

Real Madrid thrashes old rivals Barcelona, 4-1, to win Spanish Super Cup

RIYADH — Vinicius Jr. scored a hat-trick in the first half as Real Madrid were crowned Spanish Super Cup champions after a 4-1 demolition of bitter rivals Barcelona in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Real dominated every aspect of the game and toyed with last year’s champions who could not handle Vinicius and ended the contest with 10 men after defender Ronald Araujo was sent off for a second booking in the 71st minute after two fouls on the Brazilian.

“I didn’t expect us to score three so soon, but we took advantage of their high defensive line with an inspired Vinicius tonight,” Real manager Carlo Ancelotti told Movistar Plus.

“It was a difficult match, the result seems too much for the way Barcelona played. At 3-1 it was even. At 4-1 they dropped their arms a bit. We are happy.”

Mr. Ancelotti was being kind to Barca who could have suffered an even bigger defeat after a dismal second half in which they didn’t record a single shot on target.

Real’s masterclass, however, had started much earlier, with Jude Bellingham, Rodrygo and Vinicius creating all kinds of trouble for a Barcelona defense that were playing with an extremely high line.

It took Real seven minutes to open the scoring thanks to a magnificent assist by Mr. Bellingham.

The England midfielder was surrounded by three players on the halfway line but somehow managed to produce a stunning pass to find Vinicius who took the ball in his stride and effortlessly raced past the goalkeeper to finish into an empty net.

Real wasted a great opportunity to extend their lead when Federico Valverde recovered the ball quickly and delivered a great pass through to Rodrygo, whose point-blank strike was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Inaki Pena.

Real’s second came from another long pass, this time with Dani Carvajal finding Rodrygo in the right channel. He broke into the box before squaring the ball across the penalty area for a Vinicius tap-in in the 10th minute.

Barcelona almost hit back quickly as Ferran Torres fired a half-volley against the crossbar and goalkeeper Andriy Lunin made a reflex save to deny a bullet strike from Robert Lewandowski on the rebound.

Yet Barca were resilient and managed to reduce the deficit with a fine Lewandowski strike from another rebound in the 33rd minute.

The momentum was seemingly in Barca’s favor when Aurelien Tchouameni lifted a cross to Vinicius Jr. who was held by defender Mr. Araujo as he tried to pounce on the ball. Vinicius took the penalty and netted with a tidy finish to the goalkeeper’s right in the 39th minute.

The goal was a hammer blow for Barcelona and Real dominated the second half with Rodrygo hitting their fourth from a rebound in the 64th minute.

The loss will increase the pressure on Barca manager Xavi, who has faced criticism from fans and media who are unhappy with the team’s form.

They sit fourth in the LaLiga standings on 41 points, eight behind leaders Girona and seven adrift of second-placed Real Madrid.

“We have not shown the level required for a match like this,” Xavi told a press conference.

“We played our worst game. We weren’t comfortable at any point. Madrid hurt us on the counter. I apologize to the fans because it was hard for us to compete and we showed our worst side…” — Reuters