Wednesday 13 August 2014 09:34, UK
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid claimed the UEFA Super Cup with a 2-0 victory over La Liga rivals Sevilla at the Cardiff City Stadium.
The Champions League holders were hot favourites to claim the first silverware of the European season and were always too strong for the Europa League winners.
Gareth Bale was the star attraction back on home turf and he provided the cross for the first goal in the 30th minute, putting the ball on a plate for Ronaldo to convert from close range at the far post.
Summer signing James Rodriguez was also in the Real starting XI following his stellar displays for Colombia in the World Cup, but he was almost responsible for gifting Sevilla an equaliser, only for Iker Casillas to save from Daniel Carrico.
And it was 2-0 to Real early in the second period when Karim Benzema played in Ronaldo on the left of the box and he drilled a powerful shot beyond Beto, which the goalkeeper got both hands to but could not keep out.
Real boss Carlo Ancelotti paraded his awe-inspiring wealth of playing talent, with major summer signings James and Toni Kroos joining Bale and Ronaldo in a team captained by goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
James and Kroos both had their moments, with the electric speed of the Colombia international’s passing a regular highlight, while Bale's former Spurs colleague Luka Modric worked tirelessly in midfield.
Although the Spanish domestic season does not start for almost another fortnight, Real already look in ominous form, suggesting they will not only challenge for another European crown but also seriously threaten Atletico Madrid's reign as La Liga champions.
Pre-match talk about the Sevilla side revolved around a player not involved - left-back Alberto Moreno - who is on the verge of joining Liverpool, with Sevilla manager Unai Emery seemingly resigned to that outcome.
Real predictably monopolised possession in the early stages, but Bale's first involvement almost saw him put through by Ronaldo. He appeared to be brought down on the edge of Sevilla's penalty area, yet referee Mark Clattenburg waved play on.
Bale then saw a shot deflected narrowly wide as pressure began to mount, and when Ronaldo was sent crashing to the turf, Clattenburg this time gave a free-kick that Ronaldo dipped just over the bar.
Casillas was not called into action until the 20th minute, and he had to be alert at his near post to block a Vitolo shot as Sevilla displayed a counter-attacking hunger after being penned deep inside their own half.
Ronaldo should have put Real ahead following Karim Benzema's excellent approach work, yet having eased past two Sevilla defenders he shot straight at advancing Sevilla goalkeeper Beto.
It was a let-off for the underdogs, but Ronaldo was not to be denied 15 minutes before the break, finishing from close range for his 17th goal in 10 appearances against Sevilla after Bale's inch-perfect cross created a gilt-edged opening.
Sevilla could have few complaints, having played second fiddle for long periods as Real's masterful exhibition of passing meant they enjoyed prolonged periods of control.
Casillas was pressed into his second save of the game as half-time approached, deflecting a Daniel Carrico effort high and wide after James dwelled on the ball, but Real had no further scares in securing a 1-0 interval advantage.
And Ronaldo stamped a defnitive mark on proceedings just four minutes after the break when he rifled a powerful left-footed shot into the corner of Beto's net to double Real's lead.
Despite having effectively wrapped the game up, Real showed no intent to take their foot off the accelerator and Ancelotti will have been thrilled with their desire during the closing stages of a one-sided encounter.
James went desperately close to making it 3-0, but his powerful drive was superbly turned around the post by Beto, then Modric was narrowly off-target with a shot from outside the box.
Emery sent on former Arsenal player Jose Antonio Reyes among his late substitutions, but Real were already in cruise control and they comfortably closed the game out as they added more silverware to a bulging Bernabeu trophy cabinet.