Benzema-Lino back and forth in regulation time, then the Blancos champions decide from the penalty spot, Courtois in the lead
Ancelotti had said that he doesn’t prepare penalties that much: well, Benzema, Modric, Kroos and Asensio all scored, Çomert shot high, Courtois saved Gayà’s shot and Madrid will go to the Spanish Super Cup final on Sunday . He will play against the winner of Betis-Barcelona, scheduled for tomorrow. A bitter ending for Gattuso of a challenge disturbed by the controversy over his broken relationship with Ancelotti due to the succession on the Napoli bench in 2019. A cold greeting between the two former friends at the King Fahd in Riyadh, Gattuso’s outstretched hand collected with detachment from Ancelotti. Then the two settled a few meters apart to lead Valencia and Real Madrid. And in the end statements of esteem that don’t melt the ice. Gattuso: “Nothing to say about Ancelotti, I can only express my greatest respect”. Ancelotti: “Gattuso? All right, there must always be respect between people and so it was”.
Gattuso had announced changes, and kept his word: the game system is also different, with the transition from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1: “We need an extra midfielder when the ball is from Madrid” said Luigi Riccio, Rino’s assistant, before the race. And so Samuel Lino was moved into the middle, with Lato, normally left-back, advanced and moved to the right. The pairing of centre-backs, made up of Cenk and Çomert, is unprecedented, Guillamon’s absence in front of the defense is surprising.
For his part, Ancelotti changed full-backs, bringing two Spaniards back among the starters, Lucas Vazquez and Nacho. Out Modric, replaced by Camavinga, and with Tchouameni injured to pivot, Kroos was called.
How many occasions
Madrid got off to a better start, who after the mistakes of Militao and Rodrygo had a moment of magic propitiated by Benzema, go to 3 opponents in half a square metre, high shot, and saw how a right-footed shot from Valverde from distance ended up outside a blow. Then Valencia grew, guided by the creativity of Lino and the precision of Gayà and Cavani and Lato had their chances.
The turning point in the 38th minute: Militao’s perfect throw for Benzema’s run which the semi-automatic offside gave as good, control and a foul by Çomert in the box. On the penalty spot the same Frenchman who displaced Mamardashvili for his ninth goal of the season.
In the interval Ancelotti introduced Modric for the confused Camavinga and after 21 seconds Valencia equalized: a left-footed cross from the right by Lato and at the far post Samuel Lino anticipated the sleeper Lucas Vazquez beating Courtois by hitting with his right shin. For the Brazilian, a well-deserved award for what he did in the first part.
The initial blaze paradoxically extinguished the game. Ancelotti lost Lucas Vazquez and the excellent Militao due to physical problems by bringing in Carvajal and Mendy (with Nacho’s displacement), cramps removed the best of all, Samuel Lino, from the field. Madrid only tried to avoid extra time late on, creating chances for Benzema, Vinicius and Valverde.
Mamardashvili was excellent outgoing Vinicius, and at the beginning of the first overtime he surpassed himself by flying to a right foot from the Brazilian himself, and then again to a shot from outside by Kroos. In the middle the brilliant Andre Almeida put Fran Perez in front of Courtois but the son of art inexplicably decided not to shoot looking for an assist that never came. Fran Perez had another chance in the second extra period and here he shot, but collided with the gigantic Courtois.
And so it came to penalties, taken after 133 minutes of play. The first on the penalty spot was Cavani: goal. Benzema: goal. Comert: high. Modric: goal. Moriba: goal. Kroos: goal. Guillamon: goal. Asensio: goal. Gayà: saved.
January 11, 2023 (change January 12, 2023 | 00:56)
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