Barcelona 5 – 4 Sevilla (after extra-time, 4-4 in normal time)

Barcelona clinched the UEFA Super Cup 5-4 last night against Sevilla, after a thrilling tussle between last year’s #Champions League and Europa League winners was settled in extra-time. A brace of Lionel Messi strikes looked to have helped the Spanish champions to a comfortable success in Tbilisi, but their opponents fought back determinedly to take the match into extra-time. It was Barca who rallied again though to lift the silverware, as Pedro marked perhaps his last match for them with the winning goal.

Clash lives up to the build-up

The eagerly anticipated clash between the Spanish rivals did not disappoint, although for much of the game it had seemed that Barcelona would run away with it.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Despite Sevilla taking the lead with an expertly converted free-kick from Ever Banega, Messi (not for the first time) looked to have changed the course of the game with two superb free-kick goals of his own.

Leading 2-1, Barca seemed to be completely in control and seemingly able to score at will. The Brazilian Rafinha added their third goal before half-time to stretch the lead. When Luis Suarez capitalised on some lax Sevilla defending to make it 4-1, there seemed to be no way back for the opposition after 52 minutes.

Sevilla comeback

Hugely to their credit though, Sevilla did find a way back into the contest. Former Arsenal player Jose Antonio Reyes seemed to have scored merely a consolation when he popped up at the far post to reduce the deficit before the hour mark. A clumsy challenge by Jeremy Mathieu then allowed Kevin Gameiro to convert the resultant penalty to give Sevilla renewed hope.

Advertisements

Their comeback was complete as Yevhen Konoplyanka netted in the 81st minute to bring the score-line level at an improbable 4-4.

Pedro winner

Into extra-time they went, with Barcelona back on the front foot once again. They regained the advantage as Messi’s slightly deflected shot was only parried away by Beto, allowing substitute Pedro to react first and lift the ball high into the net. With Manchester United reportedly interested in signing the 28-year-old, it may well be the final contribution that he makes for the Spanish side.

Sevilla were not yet beaten and should have equalised, as Adil Rami somehow missed an excellent opportunity near the end. It was not to be though and Barcelona instead clung on to their narrow lead and claimed the Super Cup for a record-equalling fifth time.

Concern for Luis Enrique

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique will no doubt have been concerned at the manner in which his side almost threw away what had seemed to be a commanding lead at 4-1 ahead. Sevilla’s forward line were bright and energetic as they clawed their way back into the game but they were aided by some poor defensive work by Barca, especially down the flanks.

Advertisements

Jacqui Oatley prominent

A welcome inclusion into ITV’s review of the match personnel was Jacqui Oatley. Since her impressive display as the BBC’s main presenter of the recent Women’s World Cup in Canada, the FA qualified #Football coach’s popularity seems to be growing in much the same manner as Clare Balding’s did after the London Olympics. Expect her to feature more heavily on terrestrial television’s sports coverage in future, both on the BBC and ITV.