Toni Kroos pulled off a clever piece of work as Real Madrid defeated Valencia 3-1 to reach the Spanish Super Cup final on Thursday at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah.
Real Madrid, Valencia CF, FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are in Jeddah for a revamped Spanish Super Cup, where Real Madrid will now face the winner of Barcelona vs Atletico in the final.
Real Madrid were without Karim Benzema (hamstring strain) and Gareth Bale (throat infection) but in their absence, Kroos stepped up with a delightful goal to get Madrid up and running.Kroos curled in an exquisite right-footed shot from the corner flag in the 15th minute after spotting Valencia goalkeeper Jaume Domenech out of position. Domenech was talking to a defender when Kroos curled in the corner, and couldn't get back in time to stop the ball from crossing the line. He punched the ball but it still went into the top of the net.
It was a clever bit of work from the German international that once again highlighted how quick free kicks and corners can yield into goals. Even though the goals were completely different, one can't help but be reminded of the infamous goal at Anfield in last season UEFA Champions League that took Liverpool to the final.
Even then, Trent Alexander-Arnold took a quick cheeky corner kick and while the whole of Barcelona defence was sleeping, Divock Origi rose high to head in the winner.
After the match, Valencia forward Denis Cheryshev admitted that it was the team's lack of concentration that cost them the first goal.
"It was a lack of concentration by all of us," Cheryshev said. "I think mentally if affected us. After this goal everything became harder."
Apart from Kroos, Isco and Luka Modric found the back of the net for Madrid. Valencia's lone goal came through a penalty converted by Dani Parejo in second-half stoppage time after a handball by Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.
Madrid's win came in only a little more than half full stadium in Jeddah. The official attendance was given as 40,877 out of a capacity of 62,345.
(With AP inputs)