MALAGA — Athletic Bilbao forward Raul Garcia scored twice in a 2-1 win over Real Madrid on Thursday to knock the holders out of the Spanish Super Cup and set up a final against Barcelona.
Garcia, who was sent off early on during a 3-1 defeat by Real last month, got Athletic off to an ideal start when he pounced on indecision in the Real defence to latch on to a through ball and slot into in the 18th minute.
Garcia went close to adding a second before doubling the lead by sending Real keeper Thibaut Courtois the wrong way to score from the penalty spot in the 38th minute, after Lucas Vazquez had hauled down Inigo Martinez.
Iker Muniain should have added a third for Athletic early in the second half but missed the target with a free header, while Real’s Marco Asensio hit the post and the crossbar before Karim Benzema pulled a goal back for Real in the 73rd minute.
The Frenchman’s strike had initially been ruled offside but was awarded after a VAR review.
Benzema put the ball in the net again soon after and was again given offside but this time the VAR ruled against him.
Real continued to look for an equalizer deep into six minutes of added time and Athletic faced an agonizing wait for a VAR check to be completed on a potential Real penalty but they were spared and wildly celebrated the win when the whistle came.
Athletic meet Barca on Sunday in the final in Seville in a repeat of the 2015 edition of the competition, which the Basques won 5-1 on aggregate.
The Catalans overcame Real Sociedad 3-2 in a penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw in Wednesday’s first semi and beat Athletic 3-2 last week in La Liga.
Real had been in Malaga since Monday after heading straight there from Pamplona following their 0-0 draw with Osasuna, which was overshadowed by their arduous journey to the match due to the snowstorm that paralyzed large parts of Spain.
Zidane picked the same starting 11 as against Osasuna and again his side failed to sparkle, with Eden Hazard continuing to lack sharpness in attack.
Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond; Reuters