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2016 Super Cup: Real Madrid v Sevilla Preview
Our football writer previews the UEFA Super Cup clash between Real Madrid and Sevilla, which takes place on Tuesday 9 August.
European champions Real Madrid will lock horns with Europa League winners Sevilla in Norway on Tuesday in what looks a cracking encounter. These sides met in the same tournament two years ago when Los Blancos were 2-0 victors thanks to a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo. Real Madrid have won four of the last five meetings with Sevilla and Zinedine Zidane will be optimistic of winning the first piece of silverware on offer this season. However, under the tutelage of Jorge Sampaoli, Los Rojiblancos have flourished and are a force to be reckoned with.
Real Madrid v Sevilla | Tuesday 9 August | Lerkendal Stadion | 20:45
To Win (90 Mins)
Real Madrid 7/10 | Draw 29/10 | Sevilla 32/10
Real Madrid boast an impressive head-to-head record against Sevilla which doesn’t bode well for Sampaoli’s side. Los Blancos have won 30 from 45 previous meetings with three draws. Zidane’s men have won 13 of the last 16 meetings against Los Rojiblancos, including four of the last five clashes. Sevilla did manage to beat Real last season in a thrilling 3-2 victory at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, but Zidane’s galacticos avenged that defeat by winning 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu four months later.
Real Madrid boast a roster featuring some of the best players in the world, but Zidane has revealed that goalkeeper Keylor Navas and Ronaldo will definitely miss out due to injuries while Karim Benzema is a fitness doubt because of a hip problem.
Those are huge losses, but it’s Ronaldo who will be sorely missed, especially as he’s scored six goals in his last five games against Sevilla, including a hat-trick in Real’s 3-2 win at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in May last year. The Portuguese is also a major doubt for the La Liga opener with Real Sociedad 12 days later.
Kiko Casilla is expected to start in goal and will have the formidable partnership of Pepe and Sergio Ramos in front of him, along with fullbacks Marcelo and Dani Carvajal.
In what should be a 4-3-3 formation, the midfield trio will most likely be Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro. With Ronaldo set to miss the game, this could be a golden opportunity for Alvaro Morata to prove his worth. The 23-year-old Spanish international returned to Madrid earlier this year after they triggered a £23 million buy-back clause in the striker's Juventus contract. Morata showed he can lead a star-studded team by scoring three goals for Vicente del Bosque’s side in Euro 2016.
Even with no Ronaldo and potentially Benzema, having a front three of Gareth Bale, James
Rodriguez and Morata should send shivers down the spines of the Sevilla players.
Sevilla will be looking to improve on an inconsistent 2015-16 campaign that saw them finish seventh in La Liga, while failing to win a single league game away from home. However, Los Rojiblancos were outstanding in cup competitions, reaching the Copa Del Rey final (lost 2-0 to Barcelona) and winning a third consecutive Europa League (beating Liverpool 3-1).
The club have parted ways with Unai Emery, who left for the riches of Paris Saint-Germain, and have appointed Sampaoli on a two-year contract. Sampaoli, 56, is a proven winner having led Chile to the 2015 Copa America title.
Sevilla showed they’re capable of going toe to toe with the Spanish giants as they ousted La Liga champions Barcelona, 2-1, and Real Madrid, 3-2, last season. Los Rojiblancos have been impressive in pre-season, winning their first five friendlies against River Plate (3-1), Santa Fe (2-1), Sandhausen (2-1), Mainz (1-0) and St. Pauli (2-1).
Sampaoli has already made some astute signings as he looks to bolster the squad options ahead of a challenging campaign with the UEFA Champions League competition on the horizon.
Luciano Vietto (loan), Ben Yedder, Ganso, Franco Vazquez, Joaquin Correa, Matias Kranevitter, Hiroshi Kiyotake and Pablo Sarabia have all signed deals to join Los Rojiblancos, but it’s the departures that have raised concerns for the coming season.
Shockingly, Sevilla have permitted the sales of captain Coke, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Ciro Immobile, Ever Banega, Jose Antonio Reyes and last season’s top scorer Kevin Gameiro. It could take a while for the players to gel together, which gives Real Madrid the upper hand in this tie.
One-time wonderkid, Ganso, is a technically gifted player who brings quality, sublime skill and vision to Sevilla’s side. He has the ability to create something out of nothing and Real cannot afford to allow him time and space on the ball. Whether he plays deep or higher up the pitch, he is equally brilliant and he’ll be Sampaoli’s main source of creativity in this match and the coming season.
Verdict: Real Madrid (7/10)
With Sevilla losing several of their key players, along with their dismal record against Real Madrid, Los Blancos are tipped confidently at 7/10.
Written by Chadley Nagel @Hollywoodbets.net