And that's that. Full-time whistle at the Bernabeu, and the first leg is all square. An entertaining clash as usual between the two and here's hoping for another barn burner at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
- 2nd Half
- Di MaríaCoentrão54'
- 1st Half
Real Madrid - FC Barcelona
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Alves gets a yellow for a shove on Coentrao as the two fight for the ball. Late flurry of cautions in an otherwise lenient showing from the ref.
Free-kick is taken short by Barca before Sanchez eventually has a cross cleared away from the right.
Marcelo hacks down Pedro, but it's Coentrao who goes into the book for dissent after the decision.
Callejon commits another foul, somehow the sub has dodged a yellow in his brief cameo thus far. We will have 3 minutes added time at the end of the game.
Ramos and Ozil whip in crosses in quick succession, but the home side are unable to find that pass for the winner. Replays show that was stonewall on Pedro by Marcelo, but I maintain Valdes' on Ronaldo was as well.
Sanchez finds room for a shot after being fed by Xavi, but a block from Ramos takes the sting out of it and allows Casillas to collect.
Pedro gets a return from Messi and pushes his way into the box, it looks like he's fouled by Marcelo just as he's set to pull the trigger from 8 yards but again, no dice from the official. I'd say the two sides are now even on that front. Could easily have been two pens.
Callejon flashes one across goal. Goal kick.
Replay shows minimal contact, but Valdes certainly moved his arm towards Ronaldo's legs and that could easily have been given. Real's no.7 may have cost himself the decision by going down rather easily as soon as he was touched, to be honest.
Higuain does well to spark a Real move, and via Ronaldo it's with Ozil on the left. His driven centre is blocked, but moments later Callejon whips it in again, Valdes parries and... does he trip Ronaldo as the Portugese goes for the spilled ball? Seems that way, but not given!
Final Real change sees Higuain on for Benzema, who's impressed with his work rate in this game.
Neither side has been able to retain possession for very long in the last few minutes. Game threatening to fizzle out a little as legs tire.
Messi with the shot from the set piece.... his driven effort misses the top far corner comfortably.
Messi beats two but then is hacked down by Alonso, who sees yellow and gives away the free-kick 25 yards out and central.
Callejon's in rash again, this time on Macherano. He's walking a fine line...
Ozil's delivery appears to be handballed by Ronaldo at the far post, but despite nothing being given the visitors get it away regardless.
Ronaldo wins another corner on the break. This time, he really should have done better but his control let him down and he'll have been pleased to have at least earned a set piece.
Pedro looks to make an instant impact with a dangerous run down the left, and wins a free-kick out wide when he's pulled back by Ramos. Xavi whips it in but it sails over several Barca heads and over the byline.
Villa is off for Barca's third and final switch, Pedro the man for these final 15+ minutes.
This time it's Alonso's turn to foul Iniesta inside the centre circle.
Callejon pulls at Iniesta's shirt, bit of handbags there, but no booking.
Ozil chests down a lofted pass to sent Benzema heading towards goal, but he was just offside as the ball was played.
It's all Madrid at the moment. Ronaldo pulls rank on a waiting Benzema to collect Ozil's flick over the back line but his shot is straight at Valdes, as is the low cross of Ozil moments later in an attempt to find Benzema.
Ronaldo takes down a cross-fielder out on the left, cuts inside Alves and his low shot clips the Brazillian's legs for a corner, which is cleared away by the away team.
Ronaldo drawing more striped shirts on the left flank again, he plays it short to the supporting Ozil who whips in a delightful cross on the outside of his foot, the header from BENZEMA! Caught by Valdes! Good play!
Another free-kick, little further out, conceded by Sanchez. Alonso attempts to find a header in the box, but it zips straight into the waiting embrace of Valdes.
But here come Madrid again. Ozil volleys a pass inside the box over to Ronaldo on the other side, his volley needs another fine save from Valdes!
... but it dips a little too late to find the top corner. Goal kick.
Macherano slides in on Coentrao. The free-kick is perfect positioning for those Ronaldo pigeon steps... here comes the shot...
Pique's first involvement is a long ball upfield which almost picks out Villa. Interesting how often the La Liga champs have resorted to the long punts tonight.
Another regular first-teamer is brought on to continue recovery from injury by Guardiola. This time it's Adriano making way for Gerard Pique.
Another handball shout against Abidal as Ozil tries to slip into the box, but it clearly hit the defender's face and nothing else. Real continue to press and Benzema scuppers a chance by holding onto the ball to long when chances for a final pass were gaping.
Meanwhile, Thiago comes off with Xavi his replacement for the visitors. Another home switch is also made, Callejon comes on for the booked Khedira.
Alves is absolutely run over by Pepe as the right-back was set to clear the ball with zero danger out on the right, where the ball had landed after Benzema's chance. I've yet to see a yellow, but it certainly deserves one.
Valdes comes out for it but Benzema gets the header! It flashes across goal!
Great finish slotted beyond the reach of Valdes into the bottom far corner. Sanchez has been booked as Real prepare to whip another free-kick in...
And from the corner, Pepe passes back to tee up XABI ALONSO! GOOOOOOOAL, 2-2!
New boy Fabio Coentrao comes on for his Bernabeu debut in place of Di Maria...
Great run from Ronaldo out on the left, and Alves, knowing his part in the script, concedes another corner.
Believe it or not, Barcelona have never defeated Real Madrid over two legs in the Supercopa. This is their fifth attempt. Can they break the duck?
But this corner is no trouble for Casillas. He catches and distributes.
Another corner coming up for Barca, they're getting off to a bright start in this half, no doubt boosted by taking the lead late on in the first 45.
Dani Alves somehow finds the feet of Messi with a long ball from the back. Messi slips it through to Sanchez out wide and the Chilean is unlucky to get the wrong end of the referee's decision while tussling for the ball with Pepe.
Brilliant from Sanchez to evade several challenges out on the right and a 1-2 with Messi sends him bursting into the box, from which he wins a rare Barca corner. It's cleared and the visitors play it back to keep possession.
...that Arsenal have agreed terms with Barcelona for the sale of Fabregas, and he is on his way to Spain now to complete the deal. Meanwhile, Messi is down hurt on the ground in the opening moments of the second 45 courtesy of a clip from Marcelo.
The sides are back out and we are underway for the second half, but the game is currently overshadowed slightly by news breaking at half time...
And there's the half-time whistle. Great opening 45 to the Spanish season, but Real will wonder how on earth they're behind at the interval.
Khedira's pre-emptive interception takes a flick off Pepe and lands perfectly for Messi to continue his exploratory run and slot home a goal which gives Barca the lead against the run of the first half by and large.
Uh oh, Messi's in the box on the ball... AND HE'S PUT IT AWAY!
Good strength by Ramos to win possession on the halfway line. Khedira long upfield... Ozil... square to Ronaldo and off-target from the talisman.
BENZEMA! Blocked by Macherano! Great ball into the box from Alonso. The makeshift centre-halves are holding their own thus far.
Sanchez gives away a cheap free-kick in Real's half.
Benzema is almost put through, but his first touch is loose and Adriano is able to clear the danger.
Macherano closes down a Ronaldo shot from distance, he had Marcelo available on the overlap but didn't see the run in time.
Benzema unlucky not to win a free-kick on the edge of the box at the tail end of a good Real move. Mourinho is, as expected, not happy in the technical area.
Messi with a neat diagonal daisy-cutter to Villa, who once again is out wide on the left but moves inside Ramos to curl his way to the top corner with Casillas absolutely helpless. What a finish! Real's stronghold on the game is slipping.
VILLA! GOLAZO! 1-1!
Barca are starting to step up their style now, and win a pair of free-kicks from late challenges with their neat turns and evasions.
It takes FIVE white shirts to smother Messi off the ball after the hosts cheaply give away possession. He may be starting to wake up now...
Messi finally threatens to make a mark on the game. A terrific ball through to Villa is pulled back as the striker was offside, however.
Khedira fouls his way to a booking, which I believe is for multiple offenses so far in the game.
Valdes has to leave his box to clear the danger from the onrushing Di Maria, but good Real pressure leads to a throw being conceded. From it, the ball is crossed into the box and it appears that Abidal may have controlled partly with his hand. Nothing given though.
Sanchez gets the better of Marcelo on the right but the left-back catches him up to concede a throw, which comes to nothing.
Benzema slips between three defenders to aim a low drive off his left foot, which Valdes again collects.
Abidal is okay after lengthy treatment, and play resumes.
Khedira comes in with a ridiculously high, kung-fu-style kick which grazes Abidal's face. Abidal goes down a little too dramatically, given the contact shown on the replay.
Real free-kick is sent cross-field and taken down expertly by Di Maria. His cross attempt is blocked but the Whites continue to hold onto the ball.
For info, the 2nd leg is on Wednesday at Camp Nou.
Real try to break from another Barca passage of possession, but Thiago is excellent with the tackle on Ronaldo.
It's Benzema's turn to torment on the left flank, but this is one battle Alves is able to win outright.
The corner, their fourth or fifth, is overhit and misses the entire crowded box.
Ronaldo once again wins a corner off Alves on the left.
Ozil hits a very wayward pass out for a throw. That was brutal. No pressure, either. Oh, and in case you're wondering, Messi is playing. Seems hard to believe he's not been involved in a single major thing yet, eh?
Iniesta bamboozles Alonso with one of his slick turns and lures the foul in the process.
Carvalho's raking ball forward appears to set Marcelo free on the left with Benzema open in the box, but the flag goes up immediately.
Adriano defeats Di Maria in a battle of upper body strength to allow the ball out for a Barcelona throw.
Real are large and in charge now. Ronaldo shoots low at the near post from 20 yards but it's held by Valdes.
No less than Madrid deserved. Benzema cuts inside Abidal in the box to square to Ozil, who tucks the opener under Valdes. Game on!
GOAL! OZIL! 1-0 MADRID!
Sanchez concedes a free-kick with a late challenge on Alonso.
Ramos is off target from the ensuing corner, and though Madrid keep the pressure on it is quelled by an offside flag for Benzema.
Ronaldo makes space for himself on the left once more, it's a deep cross and BENZEMA HEADS ON TARGET... WHAT A SAVE BY VALDES!
Abidal embarks on a powerful run forward from defence, his second of the game so far, but Villa is muscled off the ball once teed up by the Frenchman.
Almost seven minutes played and we finally get our first lengthy spell of trademark Barcelona possession. Madrid are able to keep them stationary, however.
Khedira gets a ticking off for a foul on Iniesta just inside the Real half.
Ronaldo looks dangerous bombing down the left and Alves has to slide in to concede another corner to end his run. The set piece is again dealt with and the Barca defence need to be sharp to prevent a Khedira/Benzema 1-2.
Macherano heads away Ozil's in-swinger and Barca eventually get it away properly, leading to Sanchez's first real touches. He looks confident in possession and wins a free-kick 40 yards out.
High tempo start to the game here, pretty even stevens for the opening 120 seconds but Benzema gets the first shot in the game, deflected by Abidal away from goal for the first corner.
Victor Valdes has won the coin toss between the two skipper goalkeepers, and following a minute's silence he allows Real Madrid to kick off the 2011/12 Supercopa!
The teams are out at the Bernabeu, kick-off is just moments away!
Jose Mourinho, on the other hand, has a pretty strong starting XI at his disposal even without Sahin and Altintop, and further reinforements such as Kaka and Higuain could test a tired and depleted Barcelona from the bench.
So it's a makeshift defence once again for the European champions, with left-back Abidal and midfielder Mascherano covering for Pique and Puyol, with the former at the very least fit for the bench. The front three of Messi, Villa and new boy Sanchez appears to be powerful enough to demote Pedro to the bench, though.
Subs: Real Madrid - Adán, Varane, Arbeloa, Kaká, Callejón, Coentrao, Higuaín. /// Barcelona - Pinto, Fontàs, Dos Santos, Pedro, Piqué, Sergio, Xavi.
TEAMS: Real Madrid - Casillas, Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo, Alonso, Khedira, Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo, Benzema. /// Valdes, Alves, Mascherano, Abidal, Adriano, Keita, Thiago, Iniesta, Messi, Villa, Sanchez.
There were five - count them, FIVE, clasico clashes last season: in addition to the usual pair of Primera fixtures, the two superpowers contested a two-legged Champions League semi-final (which Barca won, en route to the trophy) and the Copa del Rey final (won in extra time by Real).
This game is indeed going ahead despite strike action leading to the first two league matchdays over in Spain being called off, and is the first Clasico Supercopa since the 1997-98 season.
Furthermore, Pep Guardiola may have to cope without Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, his first choice centre-back pairing, with Xavi, Maxell and Affelay also doubts. Real Madrid, meanwhile, are lacking the presence of Turkish midfielders Nuri Sahin and Hamit Altintop, and Sergio Ramos has a question mark over him after re-tweaking his back during the international break.
Not that any match between the two Spanish giants needs an extra touch to spice it up, but Barcelona won't be with their expected major new signing this evening as Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas is expected to complete his return to Camp Nou tomorrow.
Good evening and welcome to our LIVE coverage as the Spanish football season kicks off with a bang - a Clasico for the Supercopa between Real Madrid and Barcelona!