Real Madrid thrash old rivals Barcelona 4-1 to win Super Cup

(Reuters) RIYADH, Jan. 14 Real Madrid won the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday after defeating arch rivals Barcelona 4-1 in Saudi Arabia with a first-half hat-trick by Vinicius Jr.

Real controlled the game and played with last year's champions, who couldn't manage Vinicius and ended with 10 men after Ronald Araujo was sent off for a second booking in the 71st minute for two fouls on the Brazilian.

The Real manager told Movistar Plus, "I didn't expect us to score three so soon, but we took advantage of their high defensive line with an inspired Vinicius tonight."

The result seemed unfair to Barcelona's play in a tough contest. Even at 3-1. They lowered their arms at 4-1. We're glad." Ancelotti was fair to Barca, who could have lost more following a terrible second half with no shots on goal.

Real's masterclass began earlier, with Jude Bellingham, Rodrygo, and Vinicius terrorizing Barcelona's high-line defense. Real scored after seven minutes thanks to Bellingham's assist.

The England midfielder was surrounded by three opponents on the halfway line but pulled off a spectacular pass to Vinicius, who sprinted past the goalkeeper to score into an empty net.

Real missed a golden chance to expand their advantage when Federico Valverde collected the ball fast and passed to Rodrygo, whose point-blank shot was well stopped by Inaki Pena.

Another long pass from Dani Carvajal found Rodrygo in the right channel for Real's second. He broke into the box and squared the ball for Vinicius to tap in in the 10th minute. Barcelona nearly equalized when Ferran Torres struck the crossbar and Andriy Lunin saved Robert Lewandowski's rebound shot.

Barca rallied and Lewandowski scored again from a rebound in the 33rd minute. Barca appeared to be ahead when Aurelien Tchouameni crossed to Vinicius Jr., who was blocked by Araujo. Vinicius scored a penalty in the 39th minute well to the goalkeeper's right.

Barcelona was devastated by the goal, and Real dominated the second half with Rodrygo scoring their fourth from a rebound in the 64th minute. The setback will boost pressure on Barca manager Xavi, who has been criticized by fans and media for the team's form.

They are fourth in LaLiga with 41 points, eight behind Girona and seven behind Real Madrid. "We have not shown the level required for a match like this," declared Xavi at a press conference.

The game was our worst. We never felt comfortable. On the counter, Madrid wounded us. I apologize to the fans because we struggled to compete and displayed our worst."

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