A goalkeeping howler cruelled Eintracht Frankfurt’s slim hopes of a UEFA Super Cup upset as Karim Benzema further cemented himself in the Real Madrid pantheon.
Madrid led 1-0 after 65 minutes when Benzema hit a shot directly at Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, who had enjoyed a strong match leading up to that moment.
But Trapp made a meal of what should have been a straightforward save as the ball nestled in the back of the net and Benzema wheeled away in celebration yet again.
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“I initially thought it must have taken a deflection,” Australian goalkeeping great Mark Bosnich said on Stan Sport.
“There’s no way a goalkeeper should get beaten from that.”
Madrid comfortably held on for a 2-0 victory in Helsinki on Thursday in the annual clash between the Champions League holders and the Europa League winners.
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“Real Madrid – a bit like those snakes that catch something and then just sit with it for a day but don’t really swallow it,” host Max Rushden said on Stan Sport.
“That feels like Real Madrid. They don’t blow you away, they just suffocate you.”
David Alaba prodded the opener home from close range in the 37th minute when Casemiro cushioned Benzema’s header back after a corner.
The French star then sealed Madrid’s record-equalling fifth Super Cup title.
It was Benzema’s 324th goal for Madrid, overtaking club legend Raul.
Only Cristiano Ronaldo has more after scoring 450 goals for the club between 2009-18.
Benzema, who also joined Madrid in 2009, lifted the trophy, his first as captain after taking over from Marcelo.
Barcelona and AC Milan are only other clubs to have won the Super Cup five times.
“That’s 16 of 18 finals since 2014,” former Socceroos captain Craig Foster said of Madrid.
“The first club and manage these finals so well they are near-impossible to beat.”
The game failed to match the spectacle of their previous meeting.
Their only other competitive match was the 1960 European Cup final, when Alfredo Di Stefano scored three goals and Ferenc Puskas chipped in with four to give Madrid a 7-3 win and fifth consecutive European crown.
Frankfurt goal-scorer Erwin Stein and teammate Dieter Stinka were in Helsinki for the rematch 62 years later.
But it was the 93-year-old Jose Santamaria – the only remaining Madrid player from that final in Glasgow – who celebrated another win.
The three veterans embraced warmly when they met before kickoff.
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti started with his established players, forcing new signings Antonio Rudiger and Aurelien Tchouameni to watch from the bench.
Frankfurt was keen to make amends for a 6-1 rout at home to Bayern Munich in the opening Bundesliga game last week.
Frankfurt’s Jesper Lindstrom drew a save from Thibault Courtois early on, though the flag went up for offside, giving the Danish midfielder the distinction of being the first in a European club competition to force UEFA’s new semi-automated offside technology into action.
Lindstrom then set up Daichi Kamada, who was onside before Courtois blocked his effort.
They were to be Frankfurt’s only real chances.
Vinicius Junior had Madrid’s first big opportunity, but Brazilian compatriot Tuta slid in to deny him.
Trapp produced a fine save to stop the next Vinicius Junior effort in the 37th, but Madrid scored from the resultant corner when Benzema and Casemiro combined to give Alaba an easy finish.
Benzema went close shortly afterward as Madrid ended the first half in the ascendancy, and Vinicius Junior tested Trapp again early in the second.
The Brazilian cut inside to set up Benzema’s goal, when the French forward let fly past Trapp.
Comforted by the two goal cushion, the Spanish champions began turning on the style with intricate passing combinations – albeit without adding to their tally.
“We didn’t play a spectacular game, but we were really solid. Our usual,” Ancelotti said.
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