Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Spanish Super Cup, Second Leg Preview

Photo by kamal_k00

You can watch Barcelona vs Real Madrid in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup live on ESPN Deportes (4pm ET, 17th August).

What: Spanish Super Cup Final, second leg
When: Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona
What time: Coverage starts on ESPN Deportes at 4pm ET
Where can I watch it (in USA): Live on ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, and GolTV

“If we win the Spanish Super Cup, we will have to play much better” said Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola on Tuesday, when referring to Sunday night’s below-par performance by FC Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu. Real Madrid controlled most of the possession and dictated the play in the first half, but Barcelona capitalized on their chances and managed to tie the game 2-2.

Now the 2011 Spanish Super Cup will be decided at Camp Nou between two teams who are desperate to seize the trophy. And both teams have so much to play for.

Barcelona will be boosted by Alexis Sanchez’s sparking performance in the first leg against Real Madrid as well as the addition of Cesc Fabregas to their squad. Whether or not he’ll play Wednesday night is questionable. The former Arsenal midfielder trained with Barcelona on Tuesday and appears to be matchfit.

Guardiola, meanwhile, hasn’t announced his starting line-up for the massive game against Real Madrid.

A key to how both teams will play Wednesday night is the away goals rule. If the second leg is tied after 90 minutes, the winner will be decided using the away goals rule. Barcelona scored two precious goals at Real Madrid’s ground on Sunday night, so they definitely have a significant advantage knowing that Real Madrid will need to either win the game or score three or more goals if the game is tied.

However, Real Madrid knows that a one-nil victory is the minimum that’s needed to win the Spanish Super Cup. Having said that, it’s extremely difficult to stop Barcelona from scoring goals, so a very defensive-minded tactic by Mourinho could backfire especially if Barcelona pulls a goal back to tie it 1-1 late in the game.

The tactics that will be employed Wednesday night are just one part of the intrigue around this game that features two of the best teams in the world.

In a calculated move, straight from Jose Mourinho’s textbook, he didn’t attend the Real Madrid press conference Tuesday but had his assistant manager, Aitor Karanka, speak to the media instead. During the press conference, Karanka defended Pepe and brushed off the criticism Pepe has received from the public. Many Barcelona fans argue that Pepe is a dirty player who intentionally goes out of his way to harm Barcelona’s players on the pitch when given an opportunity. Karanka, not surprisingly, disagrees.

Real Madrid are also keeping their starting lineup close to their chest. In the game of chess between Barcelona and Real Madrid, it’s not surprising that both teams are keeping their team lineups as massive secrets. This will be a game that’s closely contested. And it may turn into a very heated affair between two of the biggest rivals especially with so much on the line.

No matter what happens Wednesday night, this is going to be must-see TV.


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