Barcelona were crowned Spanish Super Cup champions after goals from Gavi, Robert Lewandowski and Pedri earned them a 3-1 win over bitter rivals Real Madrid in Saudi Arabia.
Barcelona were dominant in every aspect of the game and took advantage of three mistakes by Real Madrid to score.
They took the lead in the 33rd minute after Real defender Antonio Rudiger passed across his own area to Barca’s Sergio Busquets, who began a move that ended with Gavi all alone inside the box to score with a precise left-foot strike.
Lewandowski extended the lead 12 minutes later on the counter when Frenkie de Jong found Gavi, who ghosted in behind Real’s defensive line. He sprinted through the left channel before putting it on a plate for the Polish striker, who tapped into the back of the empty net.
Real Madrid, who had no shots on target in the first half, spent most of the second in panic mode, trying to avoid a bigger defeat.
Yet, once again a costly mistake allowed Barcelona to score. Substitute Dani Ceballos lost the ball in midfield and Gavi sprinted forward and crossed for Pedri to fire point-blank into the empty net.
Karim Benzema scored a consolation goal for Real in added time, striking home on the rebound after Marc-Andre ter Stegen denied his first attempt.
Earlier on Sunday, Atletico Madrid were held to a 1-1 LaLiga draw by Almeria in another disappointing showing for Diego Simeone’s team.
Atletico started well and Angel Correa gave them the lead in the 18th minute before Almeria equalised with a delightful diving header by El Bilal Toure from a long cross by Lucas Robertone.
Atletico played with 10 men for the last few minutes after substitute Reguilon was shown a second yellow card for raising his forearm to an opponent’s face in an aerial challenge.
Atletico, who have won only one of their last six LaLiga games, are fourth in the standings on 28 points, level with Villarreal and Real Betis. They are now 13 points adrift of leaders Barcelona, who have a game in hand.
Roma, Atalanta and Lazio all win in Serie A
The race for the Champions League qualifying spots is getting tighter in Serie A.
Roma, Atalanta and Lazio all won on Sunday to move within three points of Inter Milan and Juventus, who occupy the final qualifying positions for European football’s top club competition.
Second-placed AC Milan are only another point further ahead, and nine points behind runaway Serie A leaders Napoli.
Roma beat 10-man Fiorentina 2-0, Lazio won at Sassuolo by the same score for their first victory of the new year, and Atalanta destroyed Salernitana 8-2.
PSG suffer surprise loss to Rennes
Paris Saint-Germain suffered their second defeat of the season in a 1-0 loss to Rennes as their Ligue 1 lead was slashed to three points.
Rennes, who have won a club record ninth consecutive home game in the top flight, prevailed thanks to Hamari Traore’s second-half goal as the visitors suffered their second loss in three league outings.
PSG have 47 points from 19 games while second-placed Lens are on 44 after their 1-0 win against Auxerre on Saturday, with Marseille third two points further adrift following their 3-1 victory against Lorient, also on Saturday.