• Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ronaldo's scores bring Real Super Cup

BBC Online
Real Madrid's captain Iker Casillas holds up the trophy after winning the UEFA Super Cup final against Sevilla at Cardiff City stadium, Wales, August 12, 2014. Photo: Reuters
Real Madrid's captain Iker Casillas holds up the trophy after winning the UEFA Super Cup final against Sevilla at Cardiff City stadium, Wales, August 12, 2014. Photo: Reuters

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid claimed the first European silverware of the season with a 2-0 Super Cup win over Sevilla in Cardiff.

Ronaldo, starting alongside new recruits James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos, tapped in a cross from Cardiff-born Gareth Bale to give Real the lead.

The Portuguese doubled his side's advantage with a drilled shot from the left when played in by Karim Benzema.

It is the first of six trophies Real are hoping to win this season.

The Champions League winners will look to defend the title they claimed by beating Atletico Madrid in May, while Bale said this week the team are also confident of winning La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Fifa Club World Cup and the Supercopa de Espana in 2014-15.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts as he poses with the trophy after winning the UEFA Super Cup final against Sevilla at Cardiff City stadium, Wales, August 12, 2014. Photo: Reuters
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts as he poses with the trophy after winning the UEFA Super Cup final against Sevilla at Cardiff City stadium, Wales, August 12, 2014. Photo: Reuters

This match against fellow Spanish side Sevilla, who won the Europa League by beating Benfica on penalties, was a first chance for manager Carlo Ancelotti to see the most expensively-assembled squad in football history in action in a competitive match.

Pre-match doubts about how the Italian might utilise his wealth of attacking talent were initially answered by the fact he started with Ronaldo, Bale, and Rodriguez as an attacking trio supporting Karim Benzema.

But questions will remain over whether the former Chelsea boss can succeed in keeping a squad worth £526m happy over the course of the season.

Ronaldo, Bale and Rodriguez cost Real Madrid a combined £228m. Photo: BBC
Ronaldo, Bale and Rodriguez cost Real Madrid a combined £228m. Photo: BBC

Sevilla rarely suggested they had the resources to upset the odds at the Cardiff City Stadium, but Real showed enough of their awesome attacking potential to underline their status as the team the rest of Europe should fear.

Ronaldo, nominally starting in a left-sided position, taunted the Sevilla defence by cutting in from the left to earn an early free-kick which he fired over, before vacating that flank for the opening goal after 30 minutes.

Bale, the darling of the home crowd, injected pace down the left before sending over an inch-perfect left-footed cross into the path of Ronaldo, who beat Sevilla keeper Beto from close range.

That move was the perfect demonstration of Real's forward fluidity, though World Cup Golden Boot winner Rodriguez was not quite at the same level on his debut for the club, showing some nerves as he squandered possession on several occasions.

The Colombia attacker was almost made to pay for one slip when he found himself in the left-back position and mis-hit a clearance to Daniel Carrico, whose effort was saved by Iker Casillas.

And more than once Rodriguez was grateful to the stabilising influence of German World Cup winner Kroos, who provided a defensive shield in midfield in his first match following his summer arrival from Bayern Munich.

But Ronaldo was undoubtedly the star of the show, having clearly overcome his World Cup injury worries and a disappointing tournament in which his Portugal side were eliminated at the group stage.

His second goal of the match four minutes after half-time required a more difficult finish than for the opener.

But after being played through by Benzema, the clinical way he despatched a swerving drive beyond Beto and inside the far post from the left side of the area underlined his determination to return to top form.

And it sounded an ominous warning to those sides hoping to halt Real this season, both domestically and in European competition.

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti:

"The team played very well, especially bearing in mind we didn't have much time to prepare. The game worked out pretty well.

"I think we might be starting a very important cycle. We have a squad of extraordinary quality - I am fortunate to be able to coach an outstanding group of players.

"It's hard to improve this team. We have an outstanding set of players, and it is important to use the squad to its full capacity. To be competitive in all competitions we need to rotate players."

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo:

"I managed to score and that gave me confidence, and I am going to continue to work to improve my level.

"We realised it would be a complex game, but we played well and created opportunities. We played with intensity, and we were justified winners, which is why we are taking the cup back home."

Sevilla manager Unai Emery:

"We knew that we had a strong opponent, but offensively, we were missing a little something and we weren't as aggressive in front of goal as we could have been."

Real Madrid: Casillas, Carvajal,Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao (Marcelo 84), Kroos, Rodriguez (Isco 72), Modric (Illarramendi 86), Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo. Subs Not Used: Navas, Varane, Arbeloa,Di Maria.

Sevilla: Beto, Coke (Figueiras 84),Pareja, Fazio, Navarro, Vidal (Aspas 66), Krychowiak, Carrico, Vitolo, Suarez (Reyes 79), Bacca. Subs Not Used: Barbosa, Jairo, Iborra, Luismi.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (England).

Published: 1:11 pm Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Last modified: 9:35 pm Wednesday, August 13, 2014

TAGS: Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Cardiff Citytelevision channel. European silverware Sevilla

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