Spanish Super Cup: Real Madrid Canceled Out By Atletico Madrid

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Colombian James Rodriguez opened his Real Madrid account by giving his club the lead in the Spanish Super Cup against Atletico Madrid. Unfortunately, that lead was short-lived as Raul Garcia managed to hit home from a corner kick just minutes later, ending the tie in a 1-1 draw before Friday’s second leg at the Vicente Calderon.

Both sides fielded in different versions of the 4-3-3. Diego Simeone‘s men once again impressed by their ability to defend and attack in numbers. Atletico Madrid rely heavily on their wingers and midfielders to push up the field to aid the lone striker in Mario Mandzukic to create scoring chances. Their organization is hard to break down … even on the counter.

Real Madrid dominated possession in the latter stages of the game, but were out-shot by one goal on frame. The home side did double the total shots their opponents took, but too many went flying wide or over the frame.

Cristiano Ronaldo exited early right after halftime due to back pain he suffered. His replacement, Rodriguez, added a bit of pace and the team’s only goal.

Real Madrid did not have enough of an influence from Toni Kroos, who was superb last week in the UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla. To be fair, Atletico Madrid’s players did mark him tightly to begin with. He will have to be a better on and off the ball in the second leg Friday if the team is to control the midfield play and keep confidence from flowing through the Atletico players.

Marcelo will have to replaced at left back by Fabio Coentrao because the difference between the two is that the former does not defend, whereas the latter is smart on both ends of the ball. Marcelo pushed up the field way too many times and even tried to do the job of Ronaldo and later on Rodriguez by making plays from the left flank. He needs to be more defensive-oriented. In fact, if he were, Brazil would have been a bit stronger in the World Cup.

Regardless, the favorite for the Spanish Super Cup now is none other than Atletico Madrid, and they will play in front of their beloved home crowd against their city rival. If Real Madrid could manage to achieve a scoreless draw or score more than once in a draw, they automatically win thanks to the away-goal rule.