FC Barcelona v Athletic Club: A Super Cup too far (1-1)

FC Barcelona v Athletic Club: A Super Cup too far (1-1)

Barça give everything and Messi puts them ahead but a second half equaliser from Aduriz seals title for Athletic

Luis Enrique’s men gave it everything in front of more than 88,000 fans, but in the end it was not enough. A draw against Athletic at Camp Nou in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup was insufficient to turn around the 4-0 deficit from the first leg with the club from Bilbao claiming their first trophy in 31 years. A second half sending off for Piqué hardly helped matters, Barça reduced to ten men for the final half an hour. A goal right at the end of the first half from Messi gave the blaugranes the lead, only for Aduriz to equalise with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Barça knew getting an early goal was always going to be crucial. One of several players recalled to the side for the second leg, Gerard Piqué, almost gave them the dream start they craved, crashing the ball against the crossbar after just three minutes.

The rest of the first half followed a predictable script – the blaugranes surging forward at every opportunity – Athletic sitting back looking for chances on the break. Almost all the action took place in the Basque half, the only real chance for the visitors coming when Eraso was gifted the ball on the edge of the Barça box. Fortunately for the blaugranes the Athletic midfielder chose to shoot into the side netting rather than pass to an unmarked Aduriz.

Messi breaks deadlock

Chances came and went for Barça, Messi hitting a free kick just over and Iniesta uncharacteristically slicing an effort wide. Nevertheless, the blaugranes made the breakthrough just a minute before the break. A penetrating run from Mascherano ended with Suárez chesting the ball down for Messi to control and volley Barça into a 1-0 lead at half time.

Into the second half and Barça began to take more risks. Consequently, Athletic enjoyed more success on the break, two good chances falling their way in the opening ten minutes. Tensions increased and then boiled over when Piqué was dismissed by the referee Velasco Carballo for dissent on 56 minutes.

Equaliser for Athletic

A man down, the blaugranes continued to believe in the impossible, Rakitic finding the side netting and Suárez hitting his shot straight at keeper Iraizoz. Athletic were patient and received their reward with a quarter of an hour to go. Aduriz found himself completely alone on the edge of the box and levelled things up at the second attempt after Bravo had denied him initially with an excellent save. The last five minutes saw Athletic reduced to ten men also with substitute Kike Sola sent off for a late challenge on Mascherano. It was too late to affect the tie and Barça now turn their attentions to the league and an opening weekend trip to none other than Athletic Club.

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