Real Madrid and Germany midfielder Toni Kroos created magic on Wednesday as he scored a goal straight from the corner during Real Madrid’s 3-1 win over Valencia in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia. Kroos caught Valencia goalkeeper Jaume Domenech napping with an instinctive strike that curled into the net.
Isco made it two and Luka Modric added a classy third from a curling finish with the outside of his foot.
After two superb goals, the only shame was more fans were not there to see them given the King Abdullah Sports City stadium appeared only a little more than half full.
The official attendance was given as 40,877 out of a capacity of 62,345.
Dani Parejo scored a late Valencia penalty but Madrid advance to Sunday’s final where they will meet the winner of Thursday’s second semi-final between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
“I’m happy with the whole performance,” said Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.
“For the goal of Isco, because maybe he needed that, the genius of Kroos and then something that only Modric can do. But it is a semi-final, we haven’t won anything yet.” Barca coach Ernesto Valverde had said earlier on Wednesday that he preferred the traditional format of this competition, that pitted the La Liga champions against the winners of the Copa del Rey in a match in Spain in August.
Under those rules, Real Madrid, who finished third in the league last term and failed to reach the final of the cup would not even have qualified but they now have the chance to win their first trophy of the season, possibly against Barca in a Clasico final.
But it is the new location that has grated most, because of the lack of consideration for Spanish fans and the implications of associating with a country that has been heavily criticised for its treatment of women and record over human rights.
In one of the more unusual aspects of the night, a giant banner of the King and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia were hung in the centre of the pitch during half-time.