What a game this was! A nine, that’s 9, goal thriller that saw the Champions League holders, Barcelona, lift the UEFA Super Cup after extra-time.
Sevilla got off to a dream start, opening the scoring after just three minutes with a fantastic free-kick from 20 yards out by Ever Banega. Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen didn’t move, he was frozen.
However Sevilla’s lead didn’t last long. Lionel Messi leveled the scoring three minutes later with a wonder free-kick of his own into the top right corner.
Messi then put Barcelona in front with his second free-kick of the evening, and the third of the night, with a stunning effort from 25 yards out.
Luis Suarez then had the chance to make it 3-1 when he was through one-on-one with keeper Beto, but fired right at him, however he was able to chase the ball back down and get a cross in that Rafinha turned in from close range.
Suarez eventually got on the scoresheet putting Barcelona 4-1 in front after some horrific defending by Sevilla, where a pass out from the back by Benoit Tremoulinas ended up falling to Sergio Busquets, who was able to slide the ball through to Suarez who slotted the ball under Beto.
Sevilla however were not ready to give up and put on an amazing comeback which started with Jose Antonio Reyes getting on the end of a cross and firing in from less than ten yards out. So it became 4-2.
Sevilla then got a penalty after Jeremy Mathieu dragged Vitolo to the ground. Kevin Gameiro stepped up to take the kick, Marc-Andre ter Stegen guessed the right but was unable to keep it out. 4-3.
And then with less than ten minutes to go Sevilla completed their comeback when Yevhen Konoplyanka tapped into an empty net after getting onto the end of a Ciro Immobile cross. Both players were making their debuts for Sevilla tonight.
However it just wasn’t to be for Sevilla when Pedro – who has said he want’s to leave Barcelona – scored the winner. Messi trying to complete his hat-trick and score his third free-kick of the night, hit the wall, the ball bounced back to him, he shot again but Beto managed to get a hand to it and save it. Unfortunately for Beto, Pedro took a gamble and was able to fire the loose ball in from close range.
What a game!
Neither side can be very happy with their defending. Both were poor and exposed on numerous occasions. The good news for Sevilla is that there is still time to dip into the transfer market and try and strengthen. Barcelona are unable to do so until January.
What should worry Barcelona is that they were winning 4-1 until they lost Andres Iniesta, who was substituted off. Was it losing his presence in midfield that allowed Sevilla to comeback or was it simply a case that they were tiring as the match went on?
The good news for Barcelona is that they look very threatening going forward and it is hard to imagine any defence being able to keep them out. And that’s without Neymar,who was out with the mumps.
If Barcelona sort out their defence, they are easily favourites to win the Champions League again this year and become the first club to retain the trophy in the current format.
Messi looks like he is determined to win back the FIFA Ballon d’Or from Cristiano Ronaldo this year.
What an opener before the Champions League starts up again next month.