Gareth To Bale Out Real In European Super Cup
Real Madrid v Sevilla
It’s an all Spanish affair in Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup encounter between Real Madrid and Sevilla in Cardiff with both clubs looking to lift the trophy for a second time.
Like many of the English Premier League’s big clubs, Real went on a tour of the United States over the summer although the ten-time European Cup winners were missing many of their World Cup stars with their replacements failing to impress in a somewhat disappointing International Champions Cup for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Real began the tournament with a penalty shootout defeat to Inter Milan following a 1-1 draw, with an an absolute screamer from Gareth Bale the highlight. Further group defeats followed against Roma – with Francesco Totti grabbing the only goal of the game – and eventual winners Manchester United, with Bale again on the scoresheet, this time from the penalty spot, in a 3-1 defeat.
UEFA Cup winners for a third time thanks to a 4-2 penalty shootout win over Portugal’s Benfica in Turin last May, Sevilla have won once and lost once in their previous Super Cup appearances.
The pre-season has been a successful one for Unai Emery’s side too as they’ve lost just one of their six games, to Union Berlin. Wins over Eintracht Braunschweig and Hertha Berlin were achieved on a brief tour of Germany while Los Rojiblancos were also victorious against Fenerbahce and Cordoba, with a scoreless draw with Lyon kicking off their summer schedule.
New signings Denis Suarez, Aleix Vidal, Iago Aspas and Grzegorz Krychowiak have all hit the ground running too, with all finding the back of the net already.
World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to make his first start since the World Cup after only appearing as a late substitute against former club United.
The top scorer in Brazil, James Rodriguez, is also in line to take his bow for Real after moving from Monaco after the tournament.
World Cup winner Toni Kroos could also feature for the first time since departing Bayern Munich while Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas may take his place between the sticks after helping his country to a shock quarter-final spot at football’s biggest event this summer.
Vidal, Aspas, Krychwiak and Suarez should all make their competitive debuts in Cardiff for Sevilla, while fellow new arrivals Mariano Barbosa and Alejandro Arribas are also available. Portuguese keeper Beto has returned from the World Cup as has Colombia’s Carlos Arturo Bacca with both expected to play some role.
Head to Head
Sevilla put a huge dent in Madrid’s title ambitions when their 2-1 win in March caused Real serious damage in the title race which they never recovered from. Bacca scored both of the goals for the home side after Ronaldo had given the visitors the lead inside 15 minutes.
It was sweet revenge for Sevilla who were comprehensively beaten in a remarkable game at the Bernebeu earlier in the season which Real won 7-3. Bacca scored again for his side with the now departed Ivan Rakitic hitting a brace but it mattered little as doubles from Bale and Karim Banzema were complemented by a Ronaldo hat-trick.
The Merengues have actually won nine of the last 11 meetings between these teams and there hasn’t actually been a draw between the pair since 2005.
Real are predictably made big favourites at 4/11 but with the majority of their players only recently back in training and most still in pre-season mode it’s not a bet I’d have an awful lot of confidence in.
Their bright spark so far this summer has been Bale though and on his return to his homeland the Welshman is well worth a punt to score anytime at even money or 9/2 to bag first or last.