SUPER CUP CLASSICO
Real Madrid made light of a red card for Cristiano Ronaldo to deal a further blow to Barcelona by winning 3-1 in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday.
Ronaldo, only introduced as a second-half substitute, was shown two quick-fire yellow cards after blasting Madrid into a 2-1 lead with 10 minutes to go.
However, Real extended their advantage with 10 men thanks to a sumptuous late strike from Marco Asensio.
Earlier, Lionel Messi’s penalty had cancelled out Gerard Pique’s own goal as Barca failed to get the early season boost they needed after losing Brazilian star Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain for a world record transfer fee.
The sides will meet again in Madrid for the second-leg on Wednesday.
Without Neymar, Barca struggled to find their rhythm going forward as Gerard Deulofeu failed to impress in the role alongside Messi and Luis Suarez up front.
Suarez had the hosts’ best effort of a timid opening half when his driven low volley was collected at the second attempt by Keylor Navas.
At the other end Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s only serious save of the first period came when Gareth Bale’s effort from Isco’s dangerous cross was turned over.
Madrid immediately upped a gear at the start of the second period and were rewarded with the opening goal in a manner that would have delighted most Real fans.