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Real Madrid made short work of Valencia in the semifinal of the Spanish Super Cup on Wednesday night, beating their fellow La Liga side 3-1 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the new four-team format of the annual competition.
Toni Kroos put Real into the lead in the 15th minute with a heads up play, curling a corner kick into the back of the net off the fingertips of Jaume Domenech after the Valencia goalkeeper and defence had fallen asleep ahead of the restart.
Isco then doubled Madrid’s lead shortly before half-time, settling the rebound from a Luka Modric shot with his chest and volleying past Domenech with his second touch to stake his team to a 2-0 lead at the break.
Modric put matters to rest 20 minutes into the second half when he turned home a lovely right-footed shot from a Luka Jovic assist to give Real a three-goal cushion.
A late penalty, awarded for handball on Sergio Ramos after a VAR review, was converted by Dani Parejo to get Valencia on the scoresheet in second-half stoppage time with the result far out of reach at that point.
“We were in complete control throughout the game, we came out with the intention of getting hold of the ball, that’s what we did and our plan worked perfectly,” Real midfielder Casemiro told reporters.
The 62,000-capacity arena was around two-thirds full for the first game of the competition, which used to be a two-legged season curtain raiser between the Spanish league champions and the Copa del Rey winners but has been given a radical facelift.
Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales spearheaded the changes to the format, increasing the number of teams to four and signing a three-year deal to move it to Saudi Arabia which media reports say is worth €40 million annually.
The result sees Madrid into the Super Cup final on Jan. 12 (live at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN3/Deportes) against the winner of Thursday’s other semifinal between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid (live at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN3/Deportes).
When asked which of their La Liga rivals he’d rather face in the fina, Casemiro said: “It doesn’t matter. We know both are really tough. Atletico Madrid is a difficult game and Barca is too. We’ll have to plan well to win. The next game is always more difficult.”