Real feels the heat in Super Cup clash

Real feels the heat in Super Cup clash

MADRID - Agence France-Presse
Real feels the heat in Super Cup clash

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo looks dejected after his team’s surprising 2-1 defeat at the hands of Getafe.

Real Madrid goes into tonight’s Spanish Super Cup second-leg against rival Barcelona knowing a victory is the only option if the team is to take the first title of the season.

Anything less will add to a disappointing start to a campaign in which Madrid is yet to win in 3 games, including the 3-2 defeat to Barça in the first-leg at the Nou Camp last week.

The 2-1 defeat at Getafe on Aug. 26, the team’s first league defeat in 2012, means Real has a single point in the league and is already five behind Barça, who won 2-1 at Osasuna on the same evening.

Jose Mourinho called the defeat “unacceptable” while refusing to blame refereeing decisions for the defeat, as he had done in the first-leg claiming Barça’s first goal to be offside. He is looking for a response from his players, especially at dead balls where the team has conceded goals in both its league games.

“In the last games we have worked more than ever on defending dead balls, with only two days until the next game we can’t do anymore, it’s up to the players to do their jobs,” he said after the Getafe match.

Modric arrival

One piece of good news for Madrid was the end of the summer-long transfer saga involving Luka Modric’s move to the Spanish capital from Tottenham Hotspur.

Modric was presented to Madrid fans on Aug. 27, perhaps too late to make an appearance in tonight’s game, but the player himself has not ruled out making a debut.

“I feel good, I still have to train with the rest of the team but I’m ready to play against Barça. I have not had games but I have trained with the fitness coach and worked hard and I had one game for Croatia. Hopefully I will need (only) a couple of games to get fit,” he said.

Another player that may or may not feature is Barça captain Carles Puyol, who suffered a fractured cheekbone for the fourth time in his career on Aug. 26 in a clash with the Osasuna player Roland Lamah. Puyol, who played with a specially fitted mask a few seasons ago when carrying the same injury, may still be fit to play with protection.

Puyol knows the importance of the first title of the season for Barça.

“It’s more for the title than the idea of winning it in the Bernabeu, it’s a trophy and the tie is finely balanced so either side can win it. Although we are going there to try and win it, I don’t think it will influence the league, which has a long way to go,” he said.

“It’s surprising, nobody expected us to be five points ahead of them after only two games, but it means nothing,” Puyol said of Madrid’s poor start. “They had gone lots of games without defeat and it’s Madrid and they can go another 30 without losing. We are fighting against one of the best sides in the world so we have to be prepared.

“We just want to think about ourselves, we are ambitious and it would be our fourth consecutive Super Cup, and you need to win the league or cup to be in this competition so we know how important it is,” he concluded.