Real Madrid lifted the Spanish Super Cup as they eased to victory over Athletic Club in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Goals from Luka Modric and Karim Benzema were enough to dispatch the Lions as Los Blancos hardly needed to get out of third gear.
In a game where Carlo Ancelotti was looking to win his first trophy back in his second stint as Madrid manager, he can be pleased in the performance of two of his 'golden oldies' as 34-year-old Benzema and 36-year-old Modric came up with the goods to take the trophy back to the Spanish capital.
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The first goal was textbook Real: attacking with thrust and guile down the right as Modric fed Rodrygo, and the young Brazilian slipped it back into the path of the Croat to bend home inside the near post.
The lead could have been extended before half time. Casemiro had two chances that tested Unai Simon in the Athletic goal, the first a drive towards the near post and the second a header from the resulting corner, but the Spain number one was equal to both efforts.
Iker Muniain and Inaki Williams tried their very best to get Marcelino's side back into the game, but they just could not match the quality on show from their opposition, and the game was beyond all doubt only seven minutes into the second half, as Yeray was unfortunately alleged to have handballed a scuffed Benzema effort and VAR gave a dubious penalty. Benzema dusted himself down and finish with aplomb, but Simon got a piece of it and could not keep it out - much to his fury.
A flurry of changes on the hour from the Bilbao manager saw an improvement in their press and their on-the-ball play, and Raul Garcia was the guilty party as he snatched at two decent opportunities to get the Basque side back into the game as Real's defence were momentarily at sixes and sevens.
Another penalty was awarded after a handball from Eder Militao was adjudged to have stopped the ball crossing the line after a Raul Garcia header from a Yuri Berchiche cross, and the Brazilian defender was controversially dismissed for a deliberate handball.
Garcia was promptly stopped by Thibaut Courtois, the Belgian's trailing leg halting a poor penalty down the middle to sum up Bilbao's night.
Real played confidently and rounded the game off professionally, controlling the tempo and patterns of play through their experienced engine room, and they still had their threat in behind with the dangerous pace of Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo down the flanks.
TALKING POINT - REAL-LY GOOD?
Not really, but they didn't need to be.
The two goals came from patterns of play filled with genuine quality, but the execution of Benzema's strike for the penalty was a little less convincing. Vinicius Junior was surprisingly quiet down the left with his first touch unusually off, although Rodrygo was much livelier on the right and got a deserved assist for Modric's opener.
Militao was shaky but didn't deserve his dismissal, but he was covered aptly by the experienced David Alaba alongside him. Courtois was hardly tested until the late spot kick, but he stepped up when it mattered most, refusing to give Bilbao a foothold back into the game as his long leg held firm to deny Garcia from 12 yards.
Luka Modric, Athletic Bilbao-Real Madrid, Spanish Super Cup
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH - LUKA MODRIC (REAL MADRID)
A complete performance from the Croatia captain. Calm and composed as ever on the ball, alert and aware in the transitional phases as his inch-perfect vision opened up the Basque defence on numerous opportunities, but the scoreline would not budge after two.
It didn't matter one bit: he was afforded too much space and time to orchestrate play and assert himself as the midfield general, given the licence to roam further forwards thanks to the discipline in defensive positioning of Casemiro and Toni Kroos. A quality display from a man who is still at the top of his game.
Athletic Club: Simon 6, de Marcos 6, Yeray 6, Martinez 6, Balenziaga 5, Berenguer 5, Garcia 6, Zarraga 5, Munain 6, I. Williams 6, Sancet 6. Subs: N. Williams 6, R. Garcia 7, Vesga 6, Yuri 6, Serrano 6.
Real Madrid: Courtois 7, Vazquez 6, Militao 5, Alaba 7, Mendy 7, Casemiro 7, Modric 8, Kroos 7, Vinicius 5, Rodrygo 7, Benzema 6. Subs: Valverde 6, Marcelo 6, Nacho 6.
18': FINGERTIP SAVE! Benzema is afforded space and time to turn. and he tries to bend the ball into the far corner, and Simon gets a fingertip to it! From the following corner, Militao beats the 'keeper to the ball and nods just over.
27': GOOD SAVE! Modric's cross is well nodded out by Yeray, and the next wave of Madrid pressure culminates in a Casemiro shot that is well saved by Simon.
38': GOAL! Athletic 0-1 Real (Modric): Real Madrid have the lead, and deservedly so. Breaking down the right, Rodrygo lays it back to the Croat, and the veteran bends it inside the near post beyond Simon. 1-0.
51': PENALTY! Handball given against Yeray, and Marcelino is given a yellow in the technical area for his complaints.
52' GOAL!Athletic 0-2 Real (Benzema): Karim Benzema makes no mistake, doubling Real's tally to make it 2-0, even though Simon guessed right.
87': PENALTY! RED CARD! SAVED! The referee says penalty and a red card for Militao! Wow! ... SAVED! Courtois makes the stop with his trailing leg! What a save!
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