Sports Desk, Jan 12 (EFE).- Real Madrid needed extra time Wednesday to dispatch Barcelona 3-2 in their Spanish Supercup semifinal.
Barça battled back twice in the latest edition of the Clasico, played in front of a pandemic-limited crowd of 30,000 at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, which is hosting the competition.
The current LaLiga leaders dominated from the start and took the lead in the 25th minute on Vinicius Jr.’s goal on the counter, assisted by Karim Benzema.
Besides delighting the large contingent of Blancos fans, the goal jolted Barcelona into action.
Luuk de Jong forced a pair of stops from goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois around the half-hour mark and brought the Blaugrana level in the 41st minute with some inadvertent help from Eder Militao, whose attempt to clear bounced off the Dutchman and into the net.
The Catalan club were much better to start the second half, as sub Pedri and Ousmane Dembele created problems for Courtois.
Benzema hit the post in the 69th minute, but got his goal three minutes later, hammering in the rebound after Marc-Andre ter Stegen turned aside a strike from Vini.
With seven minutes left in regulation, Ansu Fati, playing in his first match since getting injured two months ago, got his head to Jordi Alba’s cross and bear Courtois to make it 2-2.
Real Madrid reclaimed the lead in the 98th minute with a goal by Fede Valverde.
Barcelona fought on, coming closest in the 100th minute, when Courtois was tested by Sergio Busquets, Dembele and Pedri in quick succession, but the 3-2 edge held up and the Blancos are through to Sunday’s final.
Holders Athletic Club and defending LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid will face each other Thursday in the other semifinal. EFE