Isco continues to dazzle as Real Madrid knock off Man United to lift Super Cup
Real Madrid won the European Super Cup in Skopje, Macedonia, at the expense of Manchester United with a considerably brighter performance than anything displayed in preseason. Casemiro opened the scoring for the European champions and Isco added a classy second before Romelu Lukaku pulled one back for Jose Mourinho's side just after the hour mark.
After Real's woeful tour of the U.S., this was about as good a performance as Zinedine Zidane could have hoped for with Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench after his extended holiday and some of his side struggling for form and fitness. United's midfield were largely dominated and Mourinho's side restricted to five shots on target.
Madrid switched off for a spell in the second half just after Gareth Bale had rattled the crossbar and allowed United back into the contest while Zidane's defence struggled at times under high balls and handed Lukaku the freedom of the penalty area to equalise.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Zidane was right to bench Ronaldo but perhaps could have brought on Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio after an hour to turn the screw when Real were 2-0 up and Karim Benzema and Bale tiring.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Keylor Navas, 8 -- A quiet first half until he stopped Lukaku's straightforward header. Made a decent save from Pogba in the second period but parried straight to Lukaku, who blazed over. He was punished for doing the same when the Belgian buried the rebound from Nemanja Matic's effort but blameless as his defence was caught napping. Got a vital touch to deny Marcus Rashford with 10 minutes to play and stopped a Marouane Fellaini header in added time.
DF Dani Carvajal, 6 -- Delivered a pinpoint cross for the opening goal and provided his usual industry on the right. Went in the book for a shirt pull on Rashford towards the end and was fortunate he had a teammate in line with him at the time.
DF Sergio Ramos, 7 -- Sold a dummy by Henrikh Mkhitaryan early on but otherwise was solid in defence and dealt with the considerable physical threat of Lukaku and Fellaini.
DF Raphael Varane, 8 -- An early mix-up with Navas was reminiscent of his preseason jitters but Varane recovered his composure and got a vital head to a dangerous cross late in first half. His pace was key in shutting down Paul Pogba when Carvajal was out of position and he beat Lukaku in several sprints.
DF Marcelo, 6 -- Got forward more in the second half and covered his flank well when Mkhitaryan and Ander Herrera doubled up on the United right in the first 45.
MF Luka Modric, 7 -- Made a vital block on eight minutes and showed no signs of preseason rust, popping up in defence when needed and driving Real forward with his usual energy and precision.
MF Casemiro, 9 -- Pulled off a fantastic tackle to rob Herrera from behind to prevent a United break and opened the scoring after rattling the woodwork minutes earlier. The best player on the pitch, he outdid every starter on either side in terms of pass success with 97 percent and added an extra goal threat, which is becoming a valuable asset to Zidane.
MF Toni Kroos, 8 -- Tested David De Gea with a ferocious drive at the start of the second period and was instrumental in closing ranks at the back when United enjoyed periods of ascendancy. Neat and tidy in possession as always and one of Real's standout performers in Skopje.
MF Isco, 9 -- Capped a fine performance with a well-taken goal following a one-two with Bale. Playing in his preferred role behind the Welshman and Benzema, Isco was able to dictate the direction of Real's attack and did so expertly, picking up where he left off from last season and earning a man of the match award.
FW Gareth Bale, 7 -- Went close with a deft flick after outmuscling Matic and rattled the crossbar on the hour mark in a lively performance that will dispel some of the disquiet after his lacklustre stint in the U.S.
FW Karim Benzema, 6 -- Full of intent off the ball in the first half but did little tangible with it until warming De Gea's gloves just before half-time. Slowed in the second period and should have squared for Asensio on the break shortly before being hooked.
FW Marco Asensio, NR -- On for Bale, Asensio could have scored in stoppage time but hit his shot straight at De Gea.
FW Lucas Vazquez, NR -- On for Isco, Vazquez displayed glorious footwork to dance through the United defence and tee up Asensio.
FW Cristiano Ronaldo, NR -- On for Benzema with eight minutes to play, the Portuguese found time to blast a free kick wide from distance.
Rob Train covers Real Madrid and the Spanish national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Cafc13Rob.