Manchester United were clearly outmatched by Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup final as the La Liga and Champions League winners became the first ever team to successfully retain the Uefa Super Cup at Philip II Arena, Skopje.
Goals from Casemiro (24’) and Isco (52’) ensured a deserving triumph for Real Madrid who have now won the UEFA Super Cup three times since 2014 and a total of four times.
Manchester United, after beating Real Madrid on penalties after a 1-1 draw during the International Champions Cup last month in the US, were expected to at least give the Zinedine Zidane side a run for their money but for the majority of the game, they were the second best side in the game. Zidane has Gareth Bale to start the UEFA Super Cup final against Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo made a late cameo appearance in the second half as a substitute, but by then the damage was already done.
United looked more settled during the early exchanges, but it was Madrid who came closest to scoring an opener, with Gareth Bale striking a volley over from six yards, on which Casemiro rattled David Gea’s crossbar from a Toni Kroos corner.
Real Madrid were slowly taking control of the game and they made the most of their on-field dominance after 24 minutes into the UEFA Super Cup final.
Dani Carvajal was given way too much space 30 yards from goal and clipped a fine pass into Casemiro’s path. The Brazilian midfielder steered a fine time finish into the bottom-right corner of the post from 12 yards out.
David de Gea was able to save Karim Benzema’s low strike as well as Toni Kross’ effort from 20 yards after the first goal but was again left helpless in the 52nd minute. Isco was playing a simple one-two with Gareth Bale which carved Red Devils’ defense in two and Isco slot the ball beneath the goalkeeper, straight into the net.
Manchester United, UEFA Europa League winners responded almost immediately in the 62nd minute with their best chance of the UEFA Super Cup final. Paul Pogba’s header brought a fine reaction from Navas but Romelu Lukaku, who was offside, blasted the ball over the crossbar, ending the lifeline right there.
However, moments later, Real Madrid confidently pushed forward and Bale hit a shot off the underside of the bar, but Romelu Lukaku was quick on grabbing it for United as he tapped home after Navas deflected Matic’s shot straight into his path, taking the score to 2-1.
There were a couple of chances which could have fast paced the goal tally but Navas made a brilliant one-on-one stop to deny Rashford before De Gea came with a stunning save of his own to keep out Marco Asensio’s effort, but United never found their equalizer, as Marouane Fellaini, who had the best chance with a header on target in the 90th minute, failed to net the ball.
However, Real Madrid held firm in the stoppage time (seven minutes) to claim the trophy and lay down a marker to the continent as well as emerged as the ultimate Titans in Europe.
Despite the fact that Manchester United had more authority in the game even after the tally reflected 2-0, it was Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford who missed the two biggest opportunities to give Los Blancos the UEFA Super Cup trophy. The Red Devils will now have to brush this off and prepare for the Premier League opener on Sunday, while Real Madrid still has one more week to get ready for their league opener.