RIYADH ( Associated Press) — Barcelona won the Super Cup for the first time since reforming the tournament and traveling to Saudi Arabia after beating Real Madrid 3-1 in Sunday’s final.
Robert Lewandowski, Gavi and Pedri all scored at Riyadh’s King Fahd Stadium to give Barcelona their first Super Cup trophy since 2018 – and 14th overall.
The Catalan team had not been crowned champions in the competition since it expanded to include four participants in 2020 through a lucrative agreement with the Royal Spanish Football Federation.
It was also Barca’s first scepter since former player Xavi took over the reins as coach in 2021 and Lionel Messi left for Paris Saint-Germain.
Gavi opened the scoring after 33 minutes, scoring right in front of goal, following a pass from Lewandowski. Just before the end of the first half, Pol doubled the lead after an assist from Gavi on the counter-attack.
Furthermore, Gavi supplied Pedri with a short shot on 69 minutes to crown another counter.
For Madrid, Frenchman Karim Benzema scored in a free kick.
The Merengues were looking for their second consecutive Super Cup title in Saudi Arabia, with which they would have reached Barcelona’s tally of 13 trophies in this competition.
Madrid had knocked out Barcelona in the semi-finals of the previous edition. However, the two powers of Spanish football had never met in the final of the revised tournament.
Both teams needed a penalty shootout to overcome their opponents in the semi-finals. Madrid ousted Valencia and Barca Real Betis.
Barcelona had not lifted a trophy since the 2021 Copa del Rey, when it was led by Dutchman Ronald Koeman. It was the 35th and final championship won by Messi with the Barcelona team before leaving amid financial problems with the unit.
As part of the Spanish La Liga campaign, the white team defeated Barcelona 3–1 in the first Clásico of the season, played in October at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
The Super Cup was previously played between the league champion and the Copa del Rey champion. Now, the runners-up of those two competitions also participate.
Madrid were La Liga champions last year and Barcelona finished second. Betis won the Copa del Rey final against Valencia.
The current contract to play the Super Cup in Saudi Arabia will be in force till the 2024-25 season.