Real Madrid and Barcelona drew 2-2 in the first leg of the Spanish Supercup in front of 80,000 fans in Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu as the two bitter rivals kicked off the new season.
Mesut Ozil gave Real a 13th-minute lead before David Villa and Lionel Messi put Barcelona ahead at the break on Sunday. The Spanish and European champions then celebrated their interval advantage by announcing that they had finally agreed a deal with Arsenal to end their long-running pursuit of Cesc Fabregas.
But Real took a little shine off the news when Xabi Alonso levelled the tie nine minutes into the second half.
Barcelona boss Josep Guardiola, who remains unbeaten as manager in the Santiago Bernabeu, remained cautious over Wednesday’s second leg.
Guardiola’s starting 11 was surprising with Gerard Pique, Xavi Hernandez, Sergi Busquets and Pedro all on the bench, the first three carrying slight injuries and the latter replaced by new signing Alexis Sanchez.
No summer signing started for Jose Mourinho’s Madrid who fielded the same 11 that lost 5-0 to Barcelona in La Liga last season.
After eight minutes, a close range Karim Benzema header produced a superb fingertip save from Victor Valdes. Madrid’s efforts were rewarded with the first goal as Ozil cooly slotted home with his right foot after good work on the right from Karim Benzema.
A day after emerging to face the Spanish media for the first time since April, Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho quickly disappeared again.
The Portuguese coach failed to show for the news conference following his club’s 2-2 draw against Barcelona on Sunday in the Spanish Supercup.
Assistant coach Aitor Karanka says Mourinho didn’t show because “this was a dynamic we (Real Madrid) used last year.”