Valencia 1-3 Real Madrid: Kroos, Isco and Modric seal Supercopa final spot

By Sports Desk January 08, 2020

Real Madrid breezed into the Supercopa de Espana final on Wednesday with a commanding 3-1 win over Valencia in Jeddah.

The first semi-final encounter of the inaugural expanded tournament was decidedly one-sided despite injury and illness robbing Madrid of Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.

Toni Kroos broke the deadlock when he scored directly from a quickly taken corner before the excellent Isco struck a second in the first half.

Luka Modric completed the scoring midway through the second period to send Madrid into a final against either Barcelona or Atletico Madrid and consign Copa del Rey holders Valencia to an early trip home, Dani Parejo's late penalty proving scant consolation.

Some quick-thinking from Kroos caught out the local TV director as well as Jaume Domenech, with replays of earlier action still being shown to viewers as the Madrid midfielder curled a corner into the net despite the Valencia keeper's best efforts.

Kevin Gameiro blasted over the bar from a promising position after a rare attack from Valencia, who were limited to 36 per cent of the first-half possession as Madrid controlled the tempo with ease.

One clinical passing move set up Modric for a shot and, when his effort was blocked by Ezequiel Garay, Isco controlled the ball on his chest and volleyed expertly home from 12 yards.

Luka Jovic had a quiet half but should really have made it 3-0 before half-time, the striker failing to beat Jaume with the rebound after Isco hit the left-hand post with a header.

Federico Valverde rippled the side-netting in the second half but it was Modric who put the game beyond Valencia, gathering Jovic's pass into the box, working space with a step-over and bending a sublime shot past Jaume for his fifth goal of the season.

Parejo at least gave Valencia fans something to cheer in second-half stoppage time, firing a penalty high past Thibaut Courtois after a VAR review saw Sergio Ramos penalised for handball.

What does it mean? Zidane masterplan secures another final

This was one of Madrid's best performances of the season and it came with Benzema and Bale sidelined and with no recognised wingers in the starting line-up.

Instead, head coach Zinedine Zidane gave Modric and Isco licence to roam in front of Kroos, Valverde and Casemiro, giving Los Blancos an imperious level of control over a Valencia team who had little idea how to respond.

It would be no surprise to see Zidane replicate the line-up in the final and perhaps some of their more challenging games of 2020, such as the Champions League last-16 tie with Manchester City.

Isco sparkles in new-look line-up

Zidane opted to pack the team with ball-playing midfielders, with Isco and Modric pushed furthest forward, and it was a system in which the former flourished. He was a constant threat and took his goal well.

Kondogbia run ragged

Geoffrey Kondogbia offered little protection to his back four and did not help in building counter-attacks, either, which were evidently part of Albert Celades' initial game plan. He was replaced by Maxi Gomez after 55 minutes.

What's next?

Madrid will meet either Barcelona or Atletico in Sunday's final, with their next LaLiga game at home to Sevilla not until January 18. Valencia are back in action on January 19 at Real Mallorca.

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    Real Madrid are set to offer Toni Kroos or Isco as part of a deal to bring Juventus star Paulo Dybala to the Santiago Bernabeu, according to SportMediaset.

    LaLiga champions Madrid are eyeing a move for Dybala, who has been in negotiations with Serie A titleholders Juve over a new contract amid reported interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

    However, Juve are unwilling to part with the Argentina international – who enjoyed a fine Serie A campaign prior to Maurizio Sarri's sacking as he looks ahead to life under Andrea Pirlo.

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    - Kicker claims Jadon Sancho has told Borussia Dortmund he is happy to stay at the club if a blockbuster transfer to Manchester United fails to materialise. The England international has been heavily tipped to join United, with personal terms reportedly agreed.

    Barcelona want to sign Manchester City star Bernardo Silva, reports The Telegraph. The LaLiga giants are eyeing a cash-plus-player deal to try to prise the Portugal international to Camp Nou.

    - Premier League champions Liverpool are poised to sign Olympiacos left-back Kostas Tsimikas, according to widespread reports. Having failed to strike a deal with Norwich City for Jamal Lewis, Liverpool are close to prising Tsimikas from the Greek powerhouse. Meanwhile, The Sun says Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are targeting a shock £35million swoop for Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks.

    - The front page of Monday's edition of Marca says Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane must sell before he is able to sign players ahead of the 2020-21 season. Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez are two players unwanted in the Spanish capital as Madrid continue to be linked with the likes of PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe, Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga.

    - AS Diario reports Villarreal are on the verge of signing Valencia pair Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin. Valencia captain Parejo and team-mate Coquelin have been told they are free to leave Mestalla.

    Napoli have joined the race to sign Madrid full-back Sergio Reguilon claims Sky Sport Italia. On loan at Sevilla, Reguilon has been linked to Chelsea and Everton.

    - According to Calciomercato, Inter are interested in Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. However, salary demands may prove problematic amid talk of a swap deal involving Inter defender Milan Skriniar.

  • Lautaro Martinez 'very happy' at Inter amid Barca links – agent Lautaro Martinez 'very happy' at Inter amid Barca links – agent

    Lautaro Martinez is "very happy" at Inter amid links to LaLiga giants Barcelona, according to his agent Beto Yaque.

    Martinez has been tipped to leave Inter for Barca at the end of the season, though the Italian side have regularly insisted they have no plans to sell the star forward.

    The 22-year-old's €111million (£98.8m) release clause expired in July and Yaque played down the prospect of a transfer from San Siro to Camp Nou.

    "Lautaro's transfer is more in the media than real life," Yaque told La Figura de la Cancha.

    "Lautaro has three years on his contract with Inter and is very happy where he is.

    "He's had a very good season, still has the Europa League to play for and I hope Inter can go all the way in that competition."

    Yaque added: "I've never needed to give him advice and I don't need to now either. He's always been a complete player and has matured over the years."

    Martinez scored 14 Serie A goals as Antonio Conte's Inter finished second and a point behind champions Juventus in 2019-20.

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    Then at Hoffenheim, Nagelsmann was on a shortlist of candidates to replace Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2018, but Julen Lopetegui was eventually appointed to the post. 

    Lopetegui's tenure ended in October that year, however, while Santiago Solari also having a brief spell in charge before Zidane returned in March 2019.

    Nagelsmann, meanwhile, opted to join RB Leipzig, taking charge in 2019 and guiding the side to a third-placed finish in the Bundesliga. The 33-year-old has confirmed he decided against joining Madrid, as he thought he was not yet ready to take on a job of such magnitude. 

    "We had phone calls, but in the end the one who decided was me," Nagelsmann told Marca ahead of Leipzig's Champions League quarter-final with Atletico Madrid.  

    "I believed that it was still not the right step to go to Real Madrid. I was one of the candidates and the list was not very long.  

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    "We agreed that we could talk again in the future if Real Madrid needed a coach, and if I was available." 

    Nagelsmann added that Leipzig provided the ideal platform for him to develop as a coach. 

    "I wanted the next step to be logical. I try to plan a career in football, even if it is difficult," he said. 

    "I'm a young boy, I don't have to go to the top shelf right away either. I give myself time to develop. Leipzig went to great lengths to sign me. That was the most important thing. 

    "Relatively fast I had an offer on the table. We had good conversations and I saw that it was a good next step. A bigger club, with a bigger budget than Hoffenheim, which would allow me to continue developing.  

    "They have also given me a free hand to introduce my ideas. I do not have to permanently justify what I do, but I have the possibility to evolve and transfer my ideas to the field of play.  

    "It was a good next step in my career to prepare myself and in the future, maybe."

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