Friday, May 24

Athletic end Real’s Super Cup hopes

In a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid on Thursday, Athletic Bilbao forward Raul Garcia scored twice to knock the holders out of the Spanish Super Cup. They will play the final against Barcelona.

Garcia, who was sent off last month during a 3-1 loss by Real, made the most of Real’s Lucas Vazquez’s two glaring mistakes. He capitalized both mistakes to net twice in the first half before Karim Benzema pulled one back for Real 17 minutes from time.

First, Garcia pounced on indecision in the Real defense to grab on to a through ball and slot into the net in the 18th minute. The 34-year-old got Athletic off to an ideal start. In the 38th minute, after Vazquez had hauled down Inigo Martinez, Garcia doubled the lead. He sent Real keeper Thibaut Courtois the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Early in the second half, Iker Muniain could have added a third but missed the goal with a free header. Real’s Asensio hit the woodwork twice before Benzema pulled Real back into contention. The strike of the Frenchman had originally been ruled offside but was awarded after a study of the VAR. Benzema again placed the ball in the net and was put offside again, but the VAR ruled against him this time.

Real probed deep into six minutes of additional time for an equalizer. And Athletic endured an agonizing wait for a VAR search to be completed on a probable Real penalty. But Real couldn’t find the goal. The match ended 3-1.

Athletic meet Barca on Sunday in Seville in a repeat of 2015 final, in which the Basques won 5-1 on aggregate.

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