MADRID, Aug 17: Real Madrid shrugged off the absence of the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo to cruise past rivals Barcelona 2-0 in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup to cap a 5-1 aggregate win.
Ronaldo was slapped with a five-game ban for pushing the referee after he was sent off in the first leg, but his replacement Marco Asensio enhanced his reputation as one of world football�s rising stars as he smashed Madrid into the lead after just four minutes.
Karim Benzema then deservedly doubled Real�s lead before half-time.
Barca responded with a more spirited second-half showing and were unfortunate not to at least pull a goal back as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez hit the woodwork.
Victory continues Madrid�s run of success under Zinedine Zidane with the European champions now having lifted seven trophies in the 20 months since the Frenchman took charge.
�We played a great match tonight,� said Zidane. �Especially in the first half it was spectacular.�
Zidane even had the luxury of leaving first-team regulars Gareth Bale, Isco and Casemiro on the bench as Real�s strength in depth was demonstrated in a dominant first 45 minutes.
�This team has hunger and every time we play it shows,� added Zidane.
�We have to try to continue like this. To start the season like this is very good, but we know a long season is just starting.�
In similar fashion to his strike in the first leg, 21-year-old Asensio sent an unstoppable left-footed shot past Marc-Andre ter Stegen into the top corner from outside the box.
�I think we were superior across the whole tie,� Asensio told Spanish TV station Telecinco.
However, he rejected suggestions he is now ahead of Bale in Zidane�s pecking order.
�I am working to have as many minutes as possible on the field.
�I am happy on both a collective and individual level.�
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has suffered the worst possible start to his reign with back-to-back defeats against the Catalans fiercest rivals and the visitors never threatened to mount a comeback after conceding.
�We have to recover quickly, the league is on the horizon,� said Valverde, ahead of Barca�s La Liga opener against Real Betis on Sunday.
Shorn of Neymar after his world record breaking transfer to Paris Saint-Germain and injured captain Andres Iniesta, Barca�s star front two lacked the service needed to make a meaningful impact.
�In three days we find ourselves against the ropes,� added Valverde.
�Things have happened in pre-season that have affected the balance of the team and our job is to refind that balance.�
Indeed, the scoreline could have been a lot more embarrassing for Barca as Marcelo dragged wide before Lucas Vazquez hit the post with a glorious chance.
The hosts finally doubled their lead six minutes before the break when Benzema nipped in front of Umtiti and slotted past Ter Stegen.
An 11:00 pm kick-off time meant half-time saw Wednesday turn to Thursday and Barca did at least salvage some pride in the early morning with an improved second-half display.
Messi was desperately unlucky not to net a consolation goal as he hit the underside of the bar from a narrow angle.
The visitors� night was summed up when Suarez headed against the post with the goal gaping after Navas had parried Messi�s driven shot into his path.
And there could be even worse news to come for Barca as Suarez ended the game visibly suffering from a knee injury that Valverde said will be assessed on Thursday. � AFP