Lucas Vázquez's mistakes and Eden Hazard's inefficiency led to Real Madrid's defeat in Malaga against Athletic Bilbao in the second semi-final of the Spanish Super Cup.
On Sunday the Basque team will face FC Barcelona in the final to be played in Seville.
The planned duel between Real Madrid and Barcelona that everyone had predicted will not take place. The teams from the north were at a high level and put the favourites on the spot.
Last Wednesday, Barcelona and Real Sociedad offered a very entertaining match with continuous comings and goings and no defensive speculation.
It had excitement all the way through to the penalties. The hero of the match for the azulgranas was their goalkeeper Ter Stegen. He made two masterful interventions during the match and then stopped two penalties.
It is true that if it were not for the unnecessary penalty that De Jong la Real took, it would not have gone into extra time. But the San Sebastian team stood up to Barcelona and played an excellent game.
The other finalist on Sunday will be Athletic Bilbao. They played a very intense game in terms of physicality against Zidane's team. They put a very high pressure on Real Madrid from the beginning and were fortunate that Lucas Vazquez made two very important mistakes. The first one, a mistake in a pass near the Madrid area that Raúl García did not forgive. The second one was due to the confidence in the mark in an aerial ball and the subsequent and inconceivable grip that nobody protested when the referee blew a penalty.
But the culprit of the defeat was not only the Galician player. The white team during the whole first half hardly disturbed Athletic de Bilbao. A lot of ball control, a lot of passing, but nobody was trying to play one against the other.
Zero imbalance. Benzema did not participate in the game because he was very well covered by the defence and Modric and Kroos could not find him. Asensio was not participating either, dizzy from one side to the other and what to say about the supposed star of the team.
Eden Hazard does not contribute anything and in order that he plays the rest is dislocated alarmingly. An easy shot for the goalkeeper and an intermission that ends in dismay is all that the Belgian player contributed to the match.
The madridista technician did not wait like other times in the 82nd minute to substitute him, he did it in the 67th. Nevertheless, in the half time losing by 2-0 he should not have taken it out in the second half.
When the Belgian was not on the field was when Real Madrid played the best football. Asensio appeared constantly, Benzema scored the goal and was able to equalize the match if it was not for the offside.
On the counter, the Basque team was able to finish off the match, but Courtois saved two very clear chances.
A few months ago, in the Champions League play-off against Guardiola's Manchester City, something similar happened.
On that occasion the errors were made by Raphael Varane. But the team played with ten like yesterday, unsettled and with Hazard on the field.
Zinedine Zidane begins to be very questioned by the white fans. The determination to give minutes to an out-of-form player like Eden Hazard, the lack of others like Martin Odegaard, Vinicius, Marcelo or Mariano, the allowing of Ramos' frivolity by finishing most of the centre-forward matches and his incomprehensible changes provoke a lot of criticism.
It is not understandable that he should take away Benzema and end up with Ramos as a striker. It is not understandable that with 2-0 he does not make changes at half time and it is not understandable that he endures the whole game with Lucas Vazquez who besides doing very badly was on the verge of leaving the team with ten on a couple of occasions, it is not understandable that Odegaard has gone from being a starter to not playing anything and Valverde the same. But it is that in order that the Belgian plays he transforms the whole team. Bad solution because the supposed madridista star is very far from the player of the Chelsea that marvelled to us all.
It is not understood that he only uses 14 players of the 25 he has in the team. If he is not convinced, let him bring up players from Real Madrid B. There are two or three that are very useful. Above all, Arribas. He could be playing in the First Division perfectly. But of course, that would make him lose his friendship with some, like Isco, for example.
Because of the pandemic there are no spectators in the stadiums, but the Bernabéu would pass sentence on Hazard and possibly Zidane and Florentino. The team is getting old and the spare parts don't even have the level to be in the squad, I don't mean in the starting eleven. In the starting eleven there is only room for Eden Hazard, who has no level, but because there are no spectators in the stands.
Great Madrid players and coaches have suffered the Bernabeu's whistle for much less than the Belgian player.
The umpteenth missed opportunity for Hazard. But as long as he plays by decree he will continue in this line. A couple of games on the bench would bring him to his senses.