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Real Madrid defeats Barcelona for the 100th time in the El Clasico to reach the Spanish Supercup final.

The 248th meeting between these two famous rivals took place in Riyadh, the first time the Supercup semifinals and final were held outside of Spain, thanks to a multi-year agreement between the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and Saudi Arabia. Both teams had plenty of chances, but Real Madrid had a lot more space to work with going forward, and they ultimately seized the lead when Karim Benzema stole Sergio Busquets and deviously sent Vincius Jnior rushing through to put the all-whites ahead.

With their heads held high, the Catalans exit the competition. They lost a thrilling end-to-end match that might have gone either way, but there were plenty of positives to take home with them, including a debut and two vital players returning from injury. Although the outcome was incorrect, a trophy went unclaimed, and it is always painful to lose to your bitterest enemy, this game shows that there are plenty of lighter moments to come before the season is finished.

Ousmane Dembélé’s runs were a continuous threat, and Luuk de Jong’s head was once again proving to be one of the best weapons. The Dutchman had previously had a couple of near calls before ultimately putting the ball in the back of the net for the third game in a row, albeit in an unusual manner. Eder Milito deflected Dembélé’s low cross away, but it crashed right off De Jong’s shins and into the net.

In the second half, Xavi Hernández had more new cards to play. Pedri was finally back after missing three and a half months due to injury and only appearing in four games this season. The arrival of the Canary Islander had an immediate impact, as Barça were now in command of the game for far longer periods of time.

The all-whites had regained the lead, but Barça remained unaffected. The comeback was relentless, and it paid off when Ansu Fati took advantage of some careless Madrid marking to head home Jordi Alba’s cross. At 2-2, everything looked to be going Barça’s way, but another 30 minutes would be required.

Barça looked better than ever in extra time, but were caught 4 against 3 on the counter, allowing Fede Valverde to progress Madrid for the third time. Barça responded admirably to the setback of falling behind, charging forward while working overtime to keep Madrid from encroaching on the spaces they were forced to leave in their wake.

Madrid had chances to end the game but did not take them, and Barça might have easily brought it to penalties. But it was not to be, and Real Madrid will face either Athletic Club or Atlético Madrid in a match on Sunday at the same location.

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