Real Madrid came out on fire in the second leg of the Spanish SuperCopa Wednesday, then had to hold on as 10-man Barcelona nearly pulled off the unthinkable at Estadio Santiago Bernabeau.
Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo scored early, and Madrid were able to hold on despite a free-kick goal from Lionel Messi to defeat Barcelona 2-1 and win the SuperCopa via the away goals tiebreaker after the teams played to a 4-4 aggregate draw. Jose Mourinho's side scored two goals at Camp Nou in a 3-2 loss last week.
Higuain and Ronaldo had Madrid in the driver's seat by the 19th minute, as Barcelona's defense got burned with long balls over the top on two occasions, allowing both marksmen to pepper keeper Victor Valdes' goal. Things got even better for the hosts when makeshift Barcelona right back Adriano, who switched from his more accustomed left side, drew a red card in the 28th minute for a last-man foul on Ronaldo to put Real Madrid up a man for the remainder of the match.
That did not stop Barcelona from pushing the tempo and maintaining their possession style of play, and Messi brought the club within a goal of lifting the SuperCopa for the fourth straight year with his free kick from about 30 yards just before halftime. Madrid held on, though, winning the title contested between the previous year's league champion and Copa del Rey champion for the ninth time.
Match highlights are after the jump: