Thibaut Courtois was Real Madrid’s hero as his team won the Spanish Super Cup on penalties in a game contested between two teams whose stadiums are 10 miles apart, played 4,000 miles from Spain at the King Abdullah Sports Village in Jeddah.
Sergio Ramos scored the decisive spot-kick as Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 4-1 on penalties to win the Cup in a match that had tensions boil over before ending goalless.
Before the shoot-out there was a showdown of a different sorts with Fede Valverde cynically chopping Alvaro Morata down as he was through on goal with three minutes left.
Federico Valverde was subsequently sent off in extra time as Real Madrid ended the game with 10 men.
In the shootout, Saul Niguez saw his spot-kick hit the post before Thomas Partey’s effort was saved by Courtois, giving Ramos the chance to secure Real’s 11th Spanish Super Cup triumph.
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said Federico Valverde’s professional foul on Alvaro Morata won the Spanish Super Cup for Real Madrid but refused to condemn the Uruguayan for his actions.
“I told him (Valverde) that he did what he had to do at that moment. I think the prize for the best player makes perfect sense because Valverde won the game in this action.” said Simeone.
Zinedine Zidane took a similar view, saying: “He did what he had to do. It was a crude foul it had to be done at that time. At the end the important thing was that he apologised to Morata because they know each other very well. ”
Victory in the new-look Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia continued a remarkable run in finals for Zidane during his two spells as Madrid boss.
The Frenchman has now won all nine of the finals he has presided over, including three Champions Leagues, two FIFA Club World Cups, two UEFA Super Cups and now two Spanish Super Cups.
The Super Cup final traditionally pitting the Spanish Cup winners against the Liga champions, but on this occasion played out by two teams who had won neither the previous season.
The tournament had a new format this season, with the top two from La Liga and the Copa del Rey finalists playing in a four-team competition rather than the two winners playing each other.
Real, despite finishing third in La Liga, qualified because Barcelona won the league and finished runners-up in the Cup.
By Gerald Dandah