Tuesday night featured the official start of the 2016-17 European campaign, with Champions League winners Real Madrid securing a 3-2 win over Europa League champions and fellow Spanish club Sevilla FC, in the UEFA Super Cup.
The thrilling contest saw Madrid defender Dani Carvajal find the deciding goal in the 119th minute, saving the need for a penalty-shootout by a matter of seconds.
As both teams now leave Norway and prepare for the 2016-17 La Liga season, we highlight three areas that stood out on the pitch.
NO RONALDO? NO PROBLEM
Although others in the team including Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos did not participate, manager Zinedine Zidane will be especially pleased with his squad’s performing well without their star player Cristiano Ronaldo.
With Ronaldo still recovering from a knee injury he picked up while on international duty, Zidane should feel confident that players like Isco, Mateo Kovacic and Marco Asensio can contribute when called upon.
Amid rumours of a possible exit, Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez was brought into the tie late in the second half but failed to leave an impact on the game. With the transfer window still open, the possibility of his exit is still on the cards.
The match featured several last-minute changes and dramatic goals from Zidane’s Galacticos to seal the victory.
With the game level at 1-1 at halftime, Sevilla took a 2-1 lead through a penalty conceded by Sergio Ramos. Yevhen Konoplyanka calmly slotted in the spot kick in the 72nd minute to put Sevilla in front.
And the underdogs will undoubtedly have thought they were home and dry with another European trophy as the game gradually drew to a close, only for Sergio Ramos to make up for the penalty he gave away by scoring the equaliser in the third minute of stoppage time to send the match into extra time.
Incredibly, the drama only increased from there, as Dani Carvajal took the ball through midfield on a mazy run past the Sevilla defence to find the winning goal just seconds before the expected penalty shootout.
If the Super Cup is any indication to go by, football fans will be treated to serious entertainment in La Liga this upcoming season.
SEVILLA WILL MAKE AN IMPACT ONCE AGAIN
Sevilla may have lost the last three UEFA Super Cups now, but their three consecutive Europa League titles are a credit to a well-organised and disciplined squad.
While new manager Jorge Sampaoli has big shoes to fill for the departed Unai Emery (now in charge of Paris Saint-Germain), his roster of quality players like Vitolo and Franco Vazquez will keep the team competitive in 2016-17.
Another chance at making a deep run in the Champions League will be the priority this campaign, and the fighting spirit that Sevilla showed in the UEFA Super Cup gives supporters high hopes for what is ahead.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid continue to impress in this pre-season leading up to the 2016-17 campaign.
After a strong showing in the International Champions Cup tournament in the United States and getting their hands on their first trophy of this campaign on Tuesday night, Zinedine Zidane will be confident that this is the year Madrid win another La Liga title on top of their European exploits.
For Sevilla, the Super Cup may have ended in an abrupt and disappointing fashion, but the club hierarchy knows that another eventful year is just around the corner.