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Real Madrid 2-1 Manchester United: UEFA Super Cup talking points

Gareth Bale in action in the UEFA Super Cup final

​​​​​​​Real Madrid clinched the UEFA Super Cup with a 2-1 win over Manchester United in Macedonia.

Casemiro and Isco were on target for Zinedine Zidane's side, with United unable to draw level after Romelu Lukaku's debut goal.

Here, we round up the biggest talking points from the game.

United a long way behind Madrid

United might have sent the game to extra-time if Lukaku and Marcus Rashford had not spurned second-half chances, but there is no hiding from the fact that Madrid were the far better team over the course of the 90 minutes in Skopje. With Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Isco pulling the strings, they had a 63 per cent share of the possession and hit the woodwork twice.

Real Madrid celebrate with the UEFA Super Cup
Image: Real Madrid celebrate with the UEFA Super Cup

Perhaps it should come as no surprise for the European champions to show such superiority over the team who finished sixth in the Premier League last season, but United's heavy spending has raised expectations even higher than usual. On this evidence, they still have plenty of work to do to rival the very best.

Mixed night for Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku had his head in his hands when he blazed a glorious chance over the bar shortly after Real Madrid's second goal, but he made no mistake just eight minutes later. Nemanja Matic's shot was parried by Keylor Navas, and this time Lukaku kept his composure to slide a low finish into the net and mark his debut with a goal.

SKOPJE, MACEDONIA - AUGUST 08: Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the UEFA Super Cup final between Real Madr
Image: Romelu Lukaku marked his Manchester United debut with a goal

Lukaku did not see as much of the ball as he might have liked overall, but some of his link-up play caught the eye in the first half. He sent Henrikh Mkhitaryan through on goal with one clever touch inside the first 10 minutes, and he held the ball up effectively on a number of other occasions.

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There was a moment of naivety when he ran onto an Ander Herrera interception from an offside position, and the critics also pounced on his foul throw in the closing stages. All in all, however, there were reasons for encouragement.

Bale pursuit over?

Mourinho caused a stir in his pre-match press conference when he said he would "fight" for Gareth Bale's signature if he was left out of Madrid's starting line-up in Skopje, but the Welshman's inclusion suggests his future still lies at the Bernabeu.

With Cristiano Ronaldo not fit enough to start, Bale was deployed alongside Karim Benzema in Madrid's attack. His best moment came when he set up Isco's goal with a nicely-weighted first-time pass shortly after half-time, and he almost found the net himself when he smashed a diagonal shot off the underside of the bar shortly afterwards.

Matic impresses

Matic produced an impressive performance in the heart of United's midfield. The Serb has been a United player for less than two weeks, but he looked right at home in front of their back four and the victory might have been more comfortable for Madrid if it wasn't for his defensive contribution.

He also impressed with the ball. Matic had more touches and made more passes than any other United player, and also made an impact in the final third. The stats showed he created two scoring opportunities for his team-mates, and it was his stinging drive which led to Lukaku's goal. Mourinho will be hoping for more of the same when the Premier League season gets underway this weekend.

Fellaini still has a role to play

Marouane Fellaini has his critics but this was further evidence to suggest he still has an important role to play under Mourinho. United looked far more dangerous after the 29-year-old replaced Ander Herrera in the second half, with his physicality and aerial strength causing problems for Madrid and allowing United to use a direct approach.

Marouane Fellaini impressed after coming off the bench
Image: Marouane Fellaini impressed after coming off the bench

Fellaini had to play the final 15 minutes with a bandaged head after a collision with Sergio Ramos, but it didn't seem to affect his performance. He sent Rashford through on goal after gathering a long pass in the 81st minute, and he tested Navas with a header in stoppage time. For all the money spent, Fellaini is likely to feature prominently in the season ahead.

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