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2020 Spanish Super Cup Final: Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid Early Preview

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2020

Atletico Madrid's Spanish midfielder Koke (R) celebrates his goal with Atletico Madrid's Argentine forward Angel Correa during the Spanish Super Cup semi final between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid on January 9, 2020, at the King Abdullah Sport City in the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah. - The winner will face Real Madrid in the final on January 12. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)
GIUSEPPE CACACE/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid set up a derby encounter with Real Madrid for the 2020 Spanish Super Cup after beating Barcelona 3-2 on Thursday. Real had already reached the final following Wednesday's 3-1 win over Valencia.

The two teams from Spain's capital will face off at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday. This is a showpiece final, even if Ben Hayward of the London Evening Standard questioned the new format:

Ben Hayward @bghayward

The Supercopa showpiece should have been Barcelona vs Valencia, then seemed odds-on for #ElClasico after last night's game and ends up being a Madrid derby affair between the two teams only in it because of the change of format... #Supercopa2020

It will be a tough test for a Real side missing key attackers Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, per BBC Sport, against a strong Atleti side. Atletico flexed their attacking muscle by manufacturing goals for Koke, Alvaro Morata and Angel Correa.

Meanwhile, Real will once again rely on the ingenuity and technique of their maestros in midfield after Isco, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos all found the net against Los Che.

     

Date: Sunday, January 12

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Time: 6 p.m. GMT/1 p.m. ET

Morata exuded class to help inspire Atletico's comeback against Barca. The former Chelsea striker kept his cool from the penalty spot after winger Vitolo was felled by Barcelona deputy goalkeeper Neto.

Soon after Morata converted from 12 yards, he produced some superb creativity to send Correa in behind the Blaugrana's defence. The smart pass allowed Correa to finish with aplomb and complete an outstanding comeback.

Credit belongs to Atleti boss Diego Simeone, who has established a knack for beating Barca in knockout football:

OptaJose @OptaJose

3 - The last three @atletienglish wins over @FCBarcelona have seen the elimination of the Catalonian side (two in Champions League and this one in the Spanish Super Cup). They also are the only wins for Simeone against them in all competitions. Playoff. https://t.co/k1YqlFH1Ih

The Argentinian has also made a happy habit of reaching finals:

bet365 @bet365

La Liga Copa del Rey Supercopa de España Europa League x 2 UEFA Super Cup Two Champions League finals The only non-Real or Barcelona manager to win La Liga in the Messi and Ronaldo era. Diego Simeone takes Atletico Madrid to yet another final. What a manager.

Atletico have the strength in depth in forward areas to make Real chase the game. Zinedine Zidane will count on his midfield playmakers to keep the ball away from Morata and Co.

It's a sound strategy, given the quality of Isco, Kroos and Modric. All three were outstanding in breaking down a well-drilled Valencia side.

Kroos got things started with an outrageous piece of skill when he went for goal directly from a corner and found the back of the net.

B/R Football @brfootball

Toni Kroos taking corners. It just looks right.🚩 https://t.co/UTeVFIhC6a

The Germany international and Modric continued to combine superbly, but it was Isco who caught the eye. He's not always been a regular starter under Zidane but proved his worth in the semi-final:

OptaJose @OptaJose

102 -Isco Alarcón have made 102 & completed 96 passes vs Valencia, more than any other game in his career for @realmadriden (all competitions). Honey #SpanishSuperCup #SupercopadeEspaña #RealMadrid https://t.co/Q6qT1kA5RH

In the interest of keeping his key players fresh, Zidane let those who started against Los Che attend "a spa session at the hotel the team are staying at," according to Marca's Jose Felix Diaz and Chris Winterburn.

If Real's match-winners in the engine room are sharp, Zidane's team can control possession and steadily wear Atletico down.

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