Vinicius hat-trick as Real humiliate Barca to win Spanish Super Cup

Vinicius Junior scored a hat-trick in the first half to propel Real Madrid to Spanish Super Cup victory against rivals Barcelona on Sunday in Saudi Arabia.

Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski scored after defender Ronald Araujo was sent off in the second half on a bad night for the Spanish champions.

Real Madrid won the championship for the 13th time with Rodrygo, avenging last year’s final setback by record 14-time winners Barcelona.

Barcelona coach Xavi tried a four-man midfield to preserve the ball and limit Madrid’s counter-attacking options with flying wingers Vinicius and Rodrygo, but it didn’t work.

Pedri of Spain started in place of Raphinha, who injured his hamstring in the semi-final triumph against Osasuna.

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti threw in midfielder Toni Kroos, who, like in the exciting semi-final derby triumph over Atletico Madrid, was jeered by fans at Riyadh’s Al-Awwal Park stadium for criticizing players who moved to the Saudi league from Europe.

One of the first was Cristiano Ronaldo, and Vinicius’ reaction after scoring in the seventh minute reminded me of him.

The Brazilian, who had only just returned from injury, was put through by a superb pass from Jude Bellingham, and he circled Inaki Pena before slotting home.

In tribute to Real Madrid’s all-time leading scorer, Vinicius emulated Ronaldo’s trademark leap and spin celebration.

Vinicius pounced again three minutes later, this time set up by Rodrygo, who exploited Barcelona’s high line and cut the ball across for his compatriot to sneak in.

Ferran Torres struck the crossbar for Xavi’s side before Andriy Lunin tipped Lewandowski’s follow-up over.

Lunin, who was chosen over Kepa Arrizabalaga, who gave up three goals against Atletico, made another great save to deny Torres from a tight angle.

However, the Ukrainian goalie was unable to save Lewandowski’s wicked volley from the outside of the box in the 33rd minute.

By pulling back the forward in the box, Araujo quickly gave Vinicius a chance to complete his hat-trick from the spot.

Vinicius hammered his penalty into the bottom left corner for his first Clasico hat-trick, doubling his goal total versus Barcelona – he had previously only scored three goals in 15 outings.

Xavi gambled with a triple change, bringing in forwards Joao Felix, Lamine Yamal, and Fermin Lopez, but Madrid quickly scored their fourth.

Araujo capped off a bad night by crashing into the back of Vinicius for a second yellow card.

After Jules Kounde stopped a Vinicius cut-back looking for Bellingham, Rodrygo was in the right location at the right moment to convert.

Late on, Kounde cleared a low attempt from England international Bellingham off the line as Madrid looked to add salt to their opponents’ wounds.

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