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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Real Madrid were so good in their 3-1 defeat of Valencia in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final on Wednesday that Zinedine Zidane couldn’t single anyone out for special praise – although he warned the job remains only half done.
The 10-time winners saw off the Copa del Rey champions comfortably at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, courtesy of a Toni Kroos goal direct from a corner, an Isco volley and a fine solo effort from Luka Modric.
The only real blemish for Madrid came late on, after the Video Assistant Referee helped award Valencia a penalty late on for what it deemed to be a Sergio Ramos handball. Although the infringement appeared accidental, Valencia were handed a consolation, with Daniel Parejo calmly converting from the spot.
Madrid now play in the final either Barcelona or Atletico Madrid, who go up against one another on Thursday at the same venue. The showpiece, also played at King Abdullah Sports City, takes place on Sunday.
“I am satisfied with the performance of all the players, it’s difficult to think of just one,” Zidane said. “I welcome Isco’s goal because it needed it. There is also the genius of Kroos’ goal, and, after that, that goal only Modric is capable of.
“I’m happy because that’s all a coach wants to see from his players. However, it remains a simple semi-final; we won nothing.”
Currently joint-top of La Liga, Madrid were well-deserved victors, outplaying Valencia to such an extent they racked up a mammoth 17 attempts on goal. Isco hit the post with a header, while Luka Jovic, making a rare start, was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.
Zidane was without a number of his most prominent forwards, including Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio. Instead, the Frenchman opted for a five-man in midfield, with Isco and Modric allowed to roam behind Jovic.
“We could have played with the centre forward, but we chose another option, putting Luka and Isco and leaving space to the side,” a satisfied Zidane said. “But the most important for us is the quality of the service we offered, especially on the opposing side, with high pressure and playing well, including in the second half, where we were a little more vertical.”
This year’s Super Cup has for the first time been expanded from two teams to four. It is the first of a three-year agreement between the Kingdom’s General Sports Authority and the Spanish Football Federation, a deal said to be worth €120 million (Dh490m).
Updated: January 9, 2020 08:36 AM
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