HELSINKI: Champions League winners Real Madrid outclassed Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 on Wednesday to clinch the UEFA Super Cup for a record-equalling fifth time and kick off their season with a trophy.
A first half goal from David Alaba and another from Karim Benzema in the 65th that lifted him to second in Real’s all-time scoring list with 324 goals, wrapped up the title for the Spaniards.
While Europa League winners Eintracht were dangerous, particularly in the first half, Real’s experience and individual quality saw them through, as it did so often in their victorious 2021-22 Champions League campaign.
The win brought Real level with AC Milan and Barcelona who have also five Super Cup wins and also means Real’s Carlo Ancelotti becomes the first coach to lift the trophy four times.
“Eintracht were very closed and we found it difficult to find our rhythm, but we did it well then,” the Real coach said. “It’s difficult at the beginning of the season to be in top form but we now have won to start the season well.”
The Italian, who had named the same starting 11 that began their winning Champions League final in Paris in May, had special praise for captain Benzema, last season’s top scorer in the Champions League.
“He’s a very important player, a team leader,” he said. “If we’re here it’s largely due to his merits, he scored a lot of goals, he finished the season well, he scored a goal today and now he’s going for the Ballon d’Or award,” said Ancelotti.
Eintracht were without playmaker Filip Kostic who is close to a move to Juventus, but looked more disciplined than in their 6-1 loss to Bayern Munich last week in their Bundesliga season opener.
They also carved out the first chance of the game when Daichi Kamada broke clear but could not beat Real keeper Thibaut Courtois with his low drive in the 14th minute.
Real responded three minutes later but Vinicius Jr’s effort was cleared on the line by Tuta. Eintracht keeper Kevin Trapp did well to palm another Vinicius Jr effort wide.
The keeper, however, misjudged a cross in the 37th and was well out of position when Casemiro headed on for Alaba and the Austrian tapped in from close range for the lead.
Real stayed in control after the break, forcing another good save from Trapp in the 55th, knocking away a deflected Vinicius Jr shot before Casemiro rattled the crossbar with a shot from the edge of the box two minutes later.
The pressure eventually paid off when Vinicius Jr combined with Benzema — the pair scored a combined 111 club goals last season — and the French forward slotted in to kill off any lingering Eintracht hopes of a first ever Super Cup title.
Alaba praised his team’s determination to continue their stellar form from last season.
“We were here to win and to collect the next title... We want to pick up where we left off last season,” Alaba told RTL. “It’s always nice to score goals - it doesn’t happen so often for me.”
Eintracht captain Sebastian Rode lamented his side’s failures to take their opportunities.
“Against the Champions League winners you have to take your chances. We didn’t take ours in the decisive moments,” he told broadcaster DAZN.
The clash, in Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium, was the first time these two sides had met in a European decider since 1960, when Real dismantled Frankfurt 7-3 through four goals to Ferenc Puskas and three to Alfredo di Stefano in the European Cup final.
The match also highlighted the growing gap between the Champions League and Europa League competitions, with Real being the ninth Champions League team to win the competition in the past 10 years.
Only city rivals Atletico Madrid have won the Super Cup when qualifying via a Europa League win in the past decade, having done so by beating Real in the 2018 edition.
Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2022