Soccer  

Barcelona ‘humiliation’ talk disrespectful to Real Madrid

Carlo Ancelotti denied that Real Madrid’s 3-1 loss to Barcelona in the Spanish Supercopa final was a “sporting humiliation” on Sunday, blaming individual errors and insisting the team would bounce back.

Gavi put Barca ahead before Robert Lewandowski made it 2-0 and Pedri added a third goal after half-time, with Karim Benzema netting a late consolation strike for Madrid.

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The defeat is Madrid’s second loss in a week, after they were beaten 2-1 by Villarreal in LaLiga last weekend where they trail Barcelona in the table by three points.

“[To say] ‘sporting humiliation’ would be a lack of respect,” Ancelotti said in his postmatch news conference. “We lost against Barcelona, just like we beat them in the league [3-1 on Oct. 16]. They played better and deserved to win, that’s all.

“The mistakes we made decided the game. We didn’t play the ball out well, they hit us twice on the counter and the game changed. It wasn’t a lack of attitude, it was individual mistakes.”

Ancelotti’s first season back at Madrid was a resounding success, winning a LaLiga and Champions League double last year, but this campaign is now shaping up to be more challenging.

“It isn’t a good moment for the team. We have to hang on,” Ancelotti said. “This team has the quality to come back and be competitive in all competitions. We’re hurting because Madrid usually win finals.

“Madrid will be back, there’s no doubt about that.”

Next up for Madrid on their return from Saudi Arabia is a Copa del Rey round-of-16 tie away at Villarreal on Thursday, before they travel to Athletic Club in LaLiga next weekend.

Karim Benzema scored a consolation goal for Real in added time, striking home on the rebound after Marc-Andre ter Stegen denied his first attempt.