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The Spanish Super Cup is the only major title that Barça have not won since the Luis Enrique era began. But following a convincing display and a 2-0 victory in Seville, at the midway stage of the proceedings it would take a very brave man to bet against the Catalans lifting the trophy on Wednesday night at the Camp Nou.
Double injury blow
Preseason is over. And that was evident right from kick-off as both sides went at each other with staggering intensity. There was action in every corner of the pitch, with the best of many chances at both ends falling to Luis Suarez and brilliantly saved by Sergio Rico.
After 25 minutes, Jeremy Mathieu left the field clutching his hamstring. He was replaced by his compatriot Lucas Digne – the Frenchman thus making his official Barça debut after Luis Enrique had opted not to include any of his newcomers in the starting line-up.
Ten minutes later, Barça made a second forced substitution when Andrés Iniesta hurt his knee and made an early exit on the night that he surpassed Carles Puyol to go second in the all-time Barça appearances chart. Another debutant, Denis Suárez, came on in his stead.
Despite the two setbacks, Barça did more and more to counter a spirited display from the Andalusians. And the more the game progressed, the more dominant they became. But the turning of that dominance into goals was something that would have to wait until after the break.
The deadlock was finally broken shortly after the restart when Arda Turan, filling in for Neymar Jr as the third component of the trident, chested the ball into the path of Luis Suárez. The Uruguayan converted, thus scoring in the only major competition in which he had yet to do so for Barça.
The goal knocked the wind out of the home side, and the Catalan lead could have been extended on a number of occasions, particularly when Sergi Roberto was denied by another fine piece of goalkeeping from Rico.
Sevilla gradually worked their way back into contention, but were hit a second time just when they were at their most dangerous and Vitolo had come close twice in the space of a minute. It was Leo Messi who supplied the through ball and Munir, just five minutes after coming on for Turan, slotted home in impeccable manner.
Sevilla may have sometimes looked the better team in the first half, but in the second there only ever looked like being one winner. Barça ended their trip to the Sánchez Pizjuán two goals to the good, and although there are another ninety minutes to be played at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night (11.00pm CET), Luis Enrique can feel very confident of his chances of adding another trophy to his already impressive collection.
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