Horrible, horrible mistake by Victor Valdes. What was he thinking? With the match in the bag for the Catalans by a mile, Valdes’s bad first touch on a back pass allows Angel Di Maria to swoop down on him and as the goalie tries to clumsily dribble the ball away, loses his nerve and balance, falls and a predatory Di Maria gratefully finishes off. It allowed Real to collect a vital second goal at the Camp Nou.
Painfully, the goal came right after Barca missed a golden chance to go four up to the good. Messi latching onto Iniesta’s pass was unable to place the ball past Casillas with Pique a bit removed from the rebound as Real was able to shepherd the ball away to begin the chain of events leading to Valdes’s meltdown.
The Merengues only need a 1-0 score in the return leg at the Bernabeu for them to lift the Spanish Super Cup.
And can anyone get better than Andres Iniesta? As Ray Hudson would put it “simply magisterial.” Xavi’s third goal was surreal as Iniesta at his finest as he slalomed his way past three defenders and then in a blink of an eye threaded the needle to find his midfield compatriot running into the box.
Lets face it, Real have no such quality in the midfield. They are far too direct and too counterattacking to nurture talent like Iniesta. However, those are their strengths and with Cristiano Ronaldo having solved his dry spell against Barca, they match up well with their bitterest rivals. Also what seems to have improved the quality of recent matches is the absence of overt gamesmanship, referee baiting, theatrical diving and rolling, and senseless tackling that were the hallmarks of previous encounter. Pepe not being on the pitch was a huge help. Although Ronaldo running into Messi with a hip check sending him tumbling and then pointing to his shoulder shows he still carries a chip.