Madrid beats Valencia on penalties in Super Cup semifinal

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Real Madrid will get another chance to celebrate a Spanish Super Cup title in Saudi Arabia.

Madrid defeated Valencia 4-3 in a penalty shootout in Wednesday’s semifinal and will try to win its third Super Cup title in the Middle East nation on Sunday.

The defending champions will face either Barcelona or Real Betis, which play in the other semifinal on Thursday. The final will be at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh.

Valencia defender Eray Cömert sent his spot kick over the crossbar and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saved the penalty taken by José Luis Gayà to give Madrid the victory.

The teams drew 1-1 in regulation and were scoreless in extra time. Karim Benzema and Samuel Lino scored for each side.

Benzema also converted his penalty in the shootout, as did Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Marco Asensio for Madrid. Edinson Cavani, Ilaix Moriba and Hugo Guillamón scored from the spot for Valencia.

“It was a tough match,” Asensio said. “We struggled a bit, but what matters is that we made it to the final and will have a chance to win another title.”

This is the fourth edition of the revamped Super Cup, which used to be played only between the Spanish league champion and the Copa del Rey winner. Now the runners-up in both competitions also participate, forming a Final Four tournament that was taken to Saudi Arabia in a lucrative deal for the Spanish soccer federation. Madrid clinched the league ahead of Barcelona last season, while Betis won the Copa final against Valencia.

Madrid won two of the first three editions of the revamped tournament, in 2020 and 2022. Athletic Bilbao won it in 2021, when the tournament was played back in Spain because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Madrid opened the scoring with a penalty kick converted by Benzema in the 39th minute after he was fouled inside the area following a breakaway.

Valencia equalized less than a minute into the second half with Lino finding the net from close range after a well-placed cross by Toni Lato.

Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior had a great chance to keep the game from going into extra time, but his close-range shot five minutes into stoppage time was saved by Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili.

Mamardashvili also came up with big saves in extra time, as did Courtois.

Madrid traveled to Saudi Arabia without defender David Alaba and midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni because of injuries. Full backs Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy are with the squad but didn’t start as they were not fully fit, coming off the bench later in the match.

Valencia, coached by Gennaro Gattuso, was trying to rebound from a tough run in which it won only one of its last eight Spanish league games.

“We are proud of the team,” Valencia midfielder André Almeida said. “We showed our quality. We deserved to win.”


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