Real Madrid s players celebrate scoring during the Spanish Super Cup semi-final football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the King Fahad International stadium in the Saudi capital Riyadh on January 12, 2022. AFP
Barcelona twice equalized in regular time but couldn't recover after Valverde scored from close range on a breakaway eight minutes into extra time.
Defending Super Cup champion Athletic Bilbao will face Spanish league champion Atletico Madrid in the other semifinal Thursday.
The Spanish Super Cup is being played in Saudi Arabia again after the coronavirus pandemic transferred last year's edition back to Spain. The competition was moved to Saudi Arabia _ and expanded from two to four teams in a ``Final Four'' format - as part of a deal reportedly worth 30 million euros ($34 million) a year until 2029.
The changes drew criticism from human rights activists and complaints from fans who preferred the competition stayed in Spain. Among those complaining was Athletic midfielder Raul Garcia, who said this week it made ``no sense'' to play the games away from Spain.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)