Real Madrid 2-1 Manchester United: Casemiro and Isco strikes win Super Cup but Romelu Lukaku’s first competive Red Devils goal makes it interesting


This is what Jose Mourinho means when he talks about the difference between the Champions League and the Europa League.
The difference between the best club on the continent and teams aspiring to play at that level. The difference, right now, between Real Madrid and Manchester United.
His old club deservedly became the first club to win back-to-back UEFA Super Cups in 27 years, just as they have successfully defended the European Cup under Zinedine Zidane.
The Real coach called Mourinho’s bluff by playing Gareth Bale 24 hours after the United manager had suggested bidding for the Wales star if he was left out of the line-up — and won just about every other battle on the night.
Bale did not look like a player out of sorts in Spain and set up Madrid’s decisive second goal before hitting the bar.
Replacing Cristiano Ronaldo with Bale was the only change from the Madrid side that beat Juventus in the Champions League final in May, and they played like European champions here. United, on the other hand, look well short of that level.
Nemanja Matic had a solid competitive debut but another summer signing, Victor Lindelof, struggled again and Romelu Lukaku has significant room for improvement despite scoring the goal that gave United hope of an unlikely and undeserved comeback.
There is no doubt how much Skopje has embraced the first European final to be staged on Macedonian soil these past few days, and a 33,000 sell-out was a vindication of UEFA’s plans to take this fixture to more remote areas of the continent.
Having experimented with a number of formations in pre- season, Mourinho settled for 3-5-1-1 in the absence of the suspended Eric Bailly and Phil Jones.
It meant official debuts for Lukaku and Matic as well as Lindelof, whose unconvincing displays this summer included conceding a needless penalty against Madrid in Santa Clara last month.
The Swede didn’t look comfortable against Bale on this occasion either, but couldn’t be faulted for the lapse that almost presented his opponent with an opening goal after two minutes


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