JEDDAH: It took them more than two hours of football and a nail-biting penalty shootout, but they did it — Real Madrid won the Spanish Super Cup in thrilling fashion on Sunday night in Jeddah.
Two imperious goalkeepers came out on top during a goalless final at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium, but Belgian Courtois proved decisive, saving Thomas Partey’s penalty after Saul Niguez had already hit the post.
Sergio Ramos tucked away the winning spot-kick to ensure Real Madrid clinched their first trophy of the season, with La Liga and the Champions League next in their sights.
Atletico might have won it in extra-time when Alvaro Morata went through one-on-one but Real’s Federico Valverde took a red card in exchange for cynically fouling the striker from behind.
Victory maintains Zinedine Zidane’s spotless record as a coach in finals. He has now led Madrid to success in three of three Champions League, two each in the Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup, and now one in the Spanish Super Cup.
Ramos had been guilty of sloppiness early on and Atletico should have capitalized. The defender played a pass straight to Joao Felix on the edge of the area but Felix dragged wide and then Ferland Mendy gave the ball away carelessly, only for Morata to look for contact from Courtois and a penalty when there was neither.
Both teams had good chances to win it late on, with Luka Jovic’s deflected cross finding Valverde free five yards out only for the midfielder’s header to hit his own knee before drifting harmlessly over.
Saudi Arabia will host the Super Cup, in its new four-team format, for the next three years.