Madrid beat Barcelona in Cup semis

Valverde's late strike takes Madrid to Sunday's final

Madrid beat Barcelona in Cup semis
Pic:Real Madrid (twitter)

RIYADH: Federico Valverde scored in extra time to give Real Madrid a 3-2 victory over archrivals Barcelona in an exciting Spanish Super Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

Real will face the winner of Thursday's match between holders Athletic Bilbao and LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Real's Vinicius Jr. scored on a counter-attack early in the first half, but Luuk de Jong equalized shortly before halftime when Real defender Eder Militao made a mistake.

Karim Benzema pushed Real back in front 25 minutes into the second half, scoring on the rebound from inside the box, but a header by Ansu Fati, making his first appearance since November, forced extra time.

Real claimed the winner from another counter-attack, with Rodrygo firing a low cross to the edge of the area. Vinicius dummied to shoot, which eliminated the entire Barca defence and left Valverde all alone to tap the ball into an empty net.

Real Madrid were heavy favourites going into the game, but struggling Barcelona gave the LaLiga leaders a run for their money.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the King Fahd Stadium was only meant to be half-full, but it appeared to be nearly full of passionate spectators eager to see the first 'Clasico' played outside of Spain.

"We were very effective in the counter-attack and scored three spectacular goals," Real coach Carlo Ancelotti told a news conference.

Real Madrid sat back calmly, attempting to set up counter-attacks for Vinicius and Benzema, but they let Barcelona get too close to their area.

Xavi Hernandez's much-improved team dominated the second half and extra time, and Ousmane Dembele was a constant menace down the left for a Real Madrid defence that was missing David Alaba, who was injured in the warm-up.

Edited - SportsAction / Inputs - Agency