Real Madrid lifted a second successive UEFA Super Cup after a 2-1 victory over Manchester United in Macedonia.
In the battle of last season’s European trophy winners, it was the Champions League holders who took the lead with Casemiro opening the scoring in the 24th minute.
Zinedine Zidane’s side doubled their lead in the 53rd minute through Isco and were in total control until Romelu Lukau pulled one back for the Europa League winners.
United rallied late on with substitute Marcus Rashford denied by Keylor Navas and it was Real who held on to become the first team to win successive UEFA Super Cups since AC Milan in 1989 and 1990.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho admitted on Monday that he would “fight” for Gareth Bale’s return to English football should Real Madrid leave the Wales international out of Real Madrid’s squad for the game in Macedonia.
But Bale started and was straight into the action, latching onto Marcelo’s deflected cross but his effort failed to trouble David De Gea.
Real enjoyed the majority of the possession in the opening stages and they should have been ahead in the 17th minute but Casemiro, from close range, saw a header cannon back off the crossbar.
Despite being second best for much of the opening 45 minutes, United could have been level on the stroke of half-time when Paul Pogba’s cross picked out Lukaku, but United’s club record signing could only pick out Keylor Navas.
Real doubled their advantage immediately after the break when Isco finished into the bottom corner after collecting a return pass from Bale.
And Bale could have made it three in the 61st minute, rattling the crossbar with a fierce shot.
However, United were back in the game a minute later when Lukaku, who atoned for a poor earlier miss, pounced on the rebound after Matic’s shot was saved to score from close range.
Rashford, who came on at half-time on for Jesse Lingard, impressed late on and could have grabbed an equaliser but Navas tipped the England striker’s goal-bound effort around the post.
In difficult conditions, United continued to fight hard for an equaliser but it proved beyond them at the Philip II National Arena as Real held on for their fourth Super Cup success.
Key Opta stats:
– Romelu Lukaku has now scored on his competitive debut for Everton, West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United – the only English club he failed to achieve this with was Chelsea.
– Eight of the last nine Super Cup finals have been won by Spanish sides – Barcelona (2009, 2011 and 2015), Atletico Madrid (2010 and 2012) and Real Madrid (2014, 2016 and 2017). The exception was Bayern Munich in 2013.
– Manchester United have now lost their last three UEFA Super Cup finals (1999, 2008 and 2017), winning their other final in 1991.
– Isco has been involved in 15 goals for Real Madrid in 2017 (10 goals, five assists), with only Cristiano Ronaldo involved in more for the club (31).
– Gareth Bale assisted his first Real Madrid goal since November 2016 against Atletico Madrid.
– Jose Mourinho has never beaten Real Madrid as a manager in five attempts (W0 D1 L4).