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Ronaldo-less Real Madrid complete Super Cup rout of Barcelona

MADRID: Real Madrid shrugged off the absence of the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo to cruise past rivals Barcelona 2-0 in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup to cap a 5-1 aggregate win.

Ronaldo was slapped with a five-game ban for pushing the referee after he was sent off in the first leg, but his replacement Marco Asensio enhanced his reputation as one of world football´s rising stars as he smashed Madrid into the lead after just four minutes.

Karim Benzema then deservedly doubled Real´s lead before half-time.

Barca responded with a more spirited second-half showing and were unfortunate not to at least pull a goal back as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez hit the woodwork.

Victory continues Madrid´s run of success under Zinedine Zidane with the European champions now having lifted seven trophies in the 20 months since the Frenchman took charge.

“We played a great match tonight,” said Zidane. “Especially in the first half it was spectacular.”

Zidane even had the luxury of leaving first-team regulars Gareth Bale, Isco and Casemiro on the bench as Real´s strength in depth was demonstrated in a dominant first 45 minutes.

“This team has hunger and every time we play it shows,” added Zidane.

“We have to try to continue like this. To start the season like this is very good, but we know a long season is just starting.”

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Azhar Hashmi

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