Xavi Hernandez’s FC Barcelona have their first real test of their mini revival with the Supercopa semi final against Los Blancos. the match took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in Spanish soccer’s efforts to take La Liga global. Dani Alves was resigned by the Blaugrana ,no doubt his history with Xavi had a lot to do with that. He has exploded off the blocks and had a hand in the goal for Luuk De Jong in the weekend draw with Granada. Real Madrid is top of La Liga will be looking for the twin strike force of Vini Junior and Karim Benzema to propel them to the final. Early exchanges saw Real Madrid with more efforts at goal than Barca. One thing for sure Barca find it hard to come back from going a goal down. The speed of Vinicius opened Real’s account midway through first half, who was at the heart of the move? The ageless Luka Modric has agreed a new contact to stay at the Benabeu, it is not hard to see why. A big miss for Real’s defense was Austria’s Alaba and it showed. His direct replacement Eder Militao was at fault for Luuk De Jong’s equalize, clearance should be up the field not sideways. Barca were missing Eric Garcia as well in defense.
La Masia’s latest products Pedri(World young player of the year) and Gavi were driving the midfield well for their level of experience. But the pressure finally told on the fragile Catalan defense. No prizes for guessing who scores here. Karim had been menacing all through the second half and got his just deserts on 72 minutes. Ansu Fati had been missing through injury for most of last season. He has a lot to make up for. His 83rd minute equalizer will go a long way to achieve that. A rare header set up extra time , with the leap for such a small guy impressing me a lot. Shades of Messi champions LEAGUE FINAL 2009. In extra time, the winner came from Uruguay’s Valverde in a manner that will infuriate Xavi. Barca seemed to have defenders abandoning their core duty 8 minutes into extra time. Just freeze the frame at the moment of the strike. Count how many white shirts were in the box. Five Real players to two Barca players, that is suicidal. Any one of three players could have scored here. Los Blancos will now await the winner of Athletic Club of Bilbao and Atletico Madrid in the other semi today. Barca still work in progress.