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Real Madrid advance to Spanish Super Cup final

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RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - JANUARY 11: Federico Valverde of Real Madrid makes a pass during the Super Copa de Espana match between Real Madrid and Valencia CF at King Fahd International Stadium on January 11, 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images)
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - JANUARY 11: Federico Valverde of Real Madrid makes a pass during the Super Copa de Espana match between Real Madrid and Valencia CF at King Fahd International Stadium on January 11, 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images)

LaLiga champions Real Madrid overcame Valencia on penalties to seal their spot in the Spanish Super Cup final.

Los Blancos made four changes to the side that lost against Villarreal in LaLiga, as Lucas Vazquez, Nacho, Eduardo Camavinga and Rodrygo, who joined Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior were all recalled.

Madrid were forceful in the opening exchanges as Rodrygo, Benzema and Federico Valverde all came close in a sustained attacking spell.

Carlo Ancelotti's charges continued to threaten mainly from the wings towards the half-hour but lacked the finishing touches.

Valencia struggled to contain Los Blancos' attacks and they eventually conceded a penalty shortly before the interval after Benzema was brought down in the box from a ball over the top by Valverde.

Benzema broke the deadlock for Madrid from the spot-kick with a composed low strike on the opposite dive of goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili.

Valencia came to life soon after that as Edinson Cavani  forced a superb reflex save from shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois following a well-worked set-piece routine.

Los Che settled the quickest in the second stanza as Samuel Dias fired home the equaliser in the box within a minute from the interval after a cut-back by Toni Lato.

In frantic exchanges in the second stanza, Nacho came close to restoring Los Blancos' lead a couple of minutes later with a towering header that missed narrowly wide after a corner by Toni Kroos.

With the game going to and fro, Ancelotti was forced to withdraw his two full-backs, Vazquez and Nacho in the closing stages due to injuries, and they were replaced by Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy.

Madrid gave possession away too easily in the dying minutes as they searched for the winner and the Italian mentor threw in Marco Asensio in place of Rodrygo for fresh legs in attack.

With the attacking momentum in Los Blancos' favour, Vinicius Junior had a big chance in stoppages to net the winner from a close-range rebound but his shot was crucially saved by Mamardashvili, sending the game to extra-time.

Vinicius Junior had another glorious opportunity early in extra-time after Antonio Rudiger chested a cross kindly on his path in the box but his side-footed shot was smothered by Mamardashvili.

With Gennaro Gattuso's men pinned back in their own half, Kroos came close for Madrid on the stroke of half-time in extra-time with a long range strike from a rebound that was thwarted by Mamardashvili.

Los Che, however, had a big chance early in the second period of extra-time after Francisco Perez went through on goal from a counter-attack but he could not beat Courtois in a one-on-one situation.

After the closing stages could not produce goal-mouth action, the sides eventually went to a penalty shoot-outs to determine the winner and Ancelotti's men came out on top by winning 4-3  after Courtois saved Jose Gaya's last penalty for Valencia.

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