Lionel Messi lifted his first trophy as the new Barcelona captain – his record breaking 33rd as a Barca player – as Ernesto Valverde’s team won the Spanish Super Cup beating Sevilla 2-1.
No one has won more silverware in Barcelona’s history than the Argentine but this victory in Tangiers’ Stade Ibn Battouta was largely thanks to the club’s forgotten man Ousmane Dembele.
The French international’s spectacular goal 12 minutes from time settled the first ever Spanish Super Cup played outside of Spain. It came after Gerard Pique had cancelled out Pablo Sarabia’s opening goal.
Gerard Pique’s first was the result of a sublime Messi free-kick which clattered the post, and the second was perhaps a glimpse as to the reason the Barca hierarchy shelled out the cash for Ousmane Dembele a year ago. This is Barcelona’s 13th Super Cup victory – and a well-deserved one!
Barcelona mounted the pressure in the second half, but it was ultimately a bit of individual magic from Ousmane Dembele which secured Barcelona’s title-triumph. Sevilla were kept much quieter in the second half, after the introduction of Coutinho and Rakitic who are presumed to be the regular starters either side of Busquets. Andre Silva was relatively muted in his first appearance for the club, with hopefully better days ahead.
Wissam Ben Yedder had the chance to bring the match into extra-time with a 90th-minute penalty after a Ter Stegen foul on Vidal, but it was not to be as his set-piece was hit woefully weak, allowing the keeper to save easily.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
Sevilla (3-4-2-1): Vaclik, Mercado (Ben Yedder 85), Kjaer, Gomez, Navas, Banega, Mesa, Escudero, Sarabia (Aleix Vidal 71), Vazquez, Muriel (Silva 60);
Subs not used: AmadouIvan, Carrico, Nolito, Soriano
Goalscorers: Sarabia (9)
Booked: Vazquez, Mesa, Vidal
Barcelona (4-3-3): ter Stegen, Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Rafinha (Rakitic 46), Busquets, Arthur (Coutinho 53), Messi, Dembele (Arturo Vidal 86), Suarez;
Subs not used: Cillessen, Munir, Umtiti, Miranda
Goalscorers: Pique (42), Dembele (78)
Booked: Busquets, ter Stegen, Lenglet
Referee: Carlos del Cerro.
Barcelona finished the half strongly and Luis Suarez went close with a shot across the face of the Sevilla goal before the equaliser came. Barcelona’s new Brazilian signing Arthur Melo was fouled on the edge of the area by Ever Banega. Messi’s free-kick hit the foot of the post rebounded back on to the post from Vaclik’s dive and came out to Pique who swept it in.
Barcelona looked to build on their equaliser after the break with Ivan Rakitic on for Rafinha and Philippe Coutinho joining in on 53 minutes when he replaced Arthur.
Messi still carried the biggest threat and it was his free-kick after he had been fouled that Vaclik had to punch away.
At the other end Franco Vazquez headed on to the top of the bar from a corner. Sevilla brought on loan signing Andre Silva to lead the line in Muriel’s place. Aleix Vidal also entered the fray against the team he left two weeks ago.
Dembele shot weakly from Messi’s assist and Silva laid on a chance for Jesus Navas but he also failed to get any power in the finish.
Vaclik then made a fine double save from Messi and Suarez. But just as it seemed there would be no way through, Dembele struck to settle the game and give Barcelona their first trophy of the season.