Madrid beats Barcelona for 100th time, reaches Cup final

Sports

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Federico Valverde scored in extra time to give Real Madrid a 3-2 win over Barcelona on Wednesday for its 100th victory over its storied rival and a spot in the final of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.

Barcelona twice equalized in regular time but couldn’t recover after Valverde scored from close range on a breakaway eight minutes into extra time.

Defending Super Cup champion Athletic Bilbao will face Spanish league champion Atlético Madrid in the other semifinal Thursday.

The Spanish Super Cup is being played in Saudi Arabia again after the coronavirus pandemic transferred last year’s edition back to Spain. The competition was moved to Saudi Arabia — and expanded from two to four teams in a “Final Four” format — as part of a deal reportedly worth 30 million euros ($34 million) a year until 2029.

The changes drew criticism from human rights activists and complaints from fans who preferred the competition stayed in Spain. Among those complaining was Athletic midfielder Raúl García, who said this week it made “no sense” to play the games away from Spain.

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