Athletic Bilbao shocked Real Madrid on Thursday, January 14, by knocking the Spanish giants out of the Spanish Super Cup semi-final with two early goals.
Real Madrid went into the game as the defending champions of the competition and were expected to defeat Bilbao which they defeated 3-1 in a La Liga match on December 15. Unfortunately for coach Zinedine Zidane and his boys, the reverse was the case this time around.
The interesting part of the Spanish Super Cup semi-final match was the fact that Raul Garcia that scored the two goals for Athletic Bilbao was red-carded in Real Madrid’s 3-1 win over Bilbao in December. He switched from being a setback to being the hero of his club.
Garcia took advantage of the defensive error that Real Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez made to score in the 18th minute. In less than 20 minutes, Vazquez committed another defensive error by hauling down Bilbao’s Inigo Martinez in the penalty area.
The referee called for a spot-kick and Garcia was called upon to take it. The 34-year-old Spanish attacking midfielder made no mistake and landed himself a second goal in the 38th minute.
From that point, it was almost impossible for Real Madrid to break into Athletic Bilbao’s defense. The match dragged on until in the 73rd minute when Real’s Karim Benzema pulled one back.
Benzema’s goal could not initiate a comeback despite the high hope the goal brought to Real’s bench. Hence, the match ended 2-1 to end Real’s hope of defending the Spanish Super Cup title they won last season.
With the 2-1 win, Athletic Bilbao have booked a date with FC Barcelona to play in the final of the Spanish Super Cup. The final is scheduled to take place in Sevilla on January 31, at 21:00.
Meanwhile, the coach of Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane has defended the club’s winger Eden Hazard who was criticized for not doing enough in Real’s 2-1 defeat on Thursday. The coach started the Belgium international in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final match but failed to show much brilliance until the coach substituted him with 20-year-old Vinicius Junior.
Before he was substituted in the second half of the match, the former Chelsea talisman only made one shot on target. The match was his 10th appearance for Real Madrid in all competitions this season. He has managed to score just two goals so far.
After the 2-1 defeat in the hands of Athletic Bilbao, Zinedine Zidane urged the critics of the Belgian to be patient with him, adding that people are not tired of Hazard.
“You have to be patient, what you need is to score a goal”, Zidane said. “You have to be patient. The team has tried. You have to turn the page and keep working. We can’t go crazy now.
“I don’t think people are tired of him. You have to be patient with him. He wants to get this out. Today it wasn’t just Eden. We started the game badly, but he did well in the second half.”