Spanish Super Cup 2003/2004

The Spanish Supercup is played over two legs just before the start of the regular season between the league champions and the cup winners, who last season were Real Madrid and Mallorca respectively. Real Madrid ran out winners after a 3-0 victory at home in the second leg. Details are as follows:

First leg - 24 August 2003

Mallorca 2 - Real Madrid 1

Mallorca: Leo Franco; Cortés, Fernando Niño, Nadal, Poli; Campano (Stankovic 65'), Marcos, Ibagaza, Toni González (Nagore 60'); Eto'o, Bruggink (Perera 79'). 4-4-2.
Real Madrid: Casillas; Salgado, Iván Hlguera, Pavón (Raúl Bravo 55'), Roberto Carlos; Beckham (Makelele 55'), Cambiasso (Guti 75'), Zidane, Figo; Ronaldo, Raúl. 4-4-2.

0-1. 19. Figo. Controlled long Beckham corner and fired shot in from far post.
1-1. 45. Bruggink. Ran on to Ibagaza pass and turned shot past Casillas.
2-1. 47. Eto'o. Shot over keeper after Campano laid ball out wide.

Mallorca came from behind to beat league champions 2-1 and set up a thrilling second leg in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. The cup winners had started well, pushing forward on Madrid's goal under the command of Ibagaza, and acting captain Samuel Eto'o combined well with his new strike partner Bruggink to shoot just wide of the post on the quarter hour mark. However the visitors took the lead soon afterwards, Leo Franco mistiming his jump allowing David Beckham's corner to fall to Figo on the far post, who had the easy task of controlling the ball and picking his spot.

Madrid's confidence grew after the goal, and Ronaldo should have done better when he ran the ball too far and saw his weak shot cleared off the line by Fernando Niño. But without the rebellious Makelele to organize the midfield, the team of superstars were often getting in each others' way, and Casillas had to be at his best to get a hand to Bruggink's shot when it took a wicked deflection off Helguera. And it was no surprise when Ibagaza put a cheeky pass through Pavón's legs on the stroke of half time for Bruggink to turn his shot past the young keeper.

Worse was to come for Madrid though, and just two minutes in to the restart Eto'o scored his usual goal against his old team, beating Casillas with a lifted shot after Campano slipped the ball to him on the right of the area. A few minutes later Pavón pulled up with a pain in the stomach and Quieroz decided it was time to act, not only replacing the defender with Raúl Bravo but also taking off his new star Beckham to bring on Makelele, who agreed to play even though he is expecting to leave within the next few days. The many English fans were obviously disappointed, as was Beckham who was picked up by television cameras kicking a plastic bottle in disgust.

That restored the old formation of 4-2-3-1 though, and Makelele's presence alongside Cambiasso (who a few minutes earlier had hit the post) settled the side down. Mallorca's new manager Pacheco (curious that both bosses were Portuguese) decided to bring on his two new signings Nagore and Stankovic, recently arrived from Atlético Madrid in exchange for Novo, but after that the heat and humidity took it's toll and the game slowed down.

Even when Guti came on as a last throw of the dice, Mallorca's well organized back four kept things under control, although Leo Franco did make up for his earlier mistake with a fingertip save from Raúl as he tried to chip the ball over the keeper from close range in the dying minutes. The attention now switches to Madrid for next Wednesday's return leg, with Mallorca if anything having a slight advantage. It is not clear though whether Ibagaza will still be on their payroll by then as Atlético Madrid are pushing hard to sign him before the transfer window closes. But surely Jesús Gil won't do such a big favour to the old enemy?

Second leg - 27 August 2003

Real Madrid 3 - Mallorca 0

Real Madrid: Casillas; Salgado, Iván Helguera, Raúl Bravo, Roberto Carlos; Beckham, Cambiasso, Zidane, Figo (Solari 90'); Ronaldo, Raúl (Guti 70', Portillo 86'). 4-4-2.
Mallorca: Leo Franco; Cortés, Fernando Niño (Stankovic 75'), Nadal, Poli; Campano (Perera 55'), Marcos (Nagore 85'), Ibagaza, Toni González; Eto'o, Bruggink. 4-4-2.

1-0. 45. Raúl. Turned in pass from Roberto Carlos after keeper saved from Zidane.
2-0. 52. Ronaldo. Ran on to pass from Figo to drill low shot past Leo Franco.
3-0. 72. Beckham. Steered header into net from Ronaldo's long cross.

Real Madrid won their first trophy of the season after defeating Mallorca in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup. Trailing 2-1 from the first leg in Mallorca, the league champions, new manager Carlos Queiroz put out his best available side, although an injury to central defender Pavón meant that Raúl Bravo stepped in as makeshift centre back. Makele was also on the bench, even though he was expected to move to Chelsea very soon. Queiroz's opposite number and fellow countryman Jaime Pacheco could eventually count on Ibagaza, despite pressure from Atlético Madrid for him not to play as he was in the process of signing for Madrid's cross town rivals.

The man the fans wanted to see though (as well as Ronaldo, Zidane, Figo, Raúl and Roberto Carlos) was new signing David Beckham, who was making his official home debut. The England captain had been substituted early on in the first leg, but he was given his more natural role on the right of midfield, and brought the first applause out of the crowd with a couple of free kicks which went just wide.

The warning bells were starting to go though as half time approached without any goals. However before referee Medina Cantalejo could blow the whistle Zidane picked up the ball on the left of goal and fired in a low shot. Keeper Leo Franco got down to it but could only parry it out to Roberto Carlos, who played it across to Raúl for him to score. A psychological goal which give Madrid the lead on the away goal rule.

Seven minutes in to the restart Campano gave the ball away to Figo, and he slipped a pass through to Ronaldo for him to make it two. The league champions appeared to be cruising, but Mallorca bit back and it took two great saves from Casillas, the first from Bruggink and then from substitute Jesús Perera, to keep Madrid ahead. But then Ronaldo got away on a run down the left wing, and Beckham delighted the crowd steering a rare header past the flailing Leo Franco for his first goal on home soil. It was enough to give Madrid victory and a record seventh title.

Super Cup 2002/2003
Super Cup 2001/2002
Super Cup 2000/2001
Super Cup 1999/2000
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