FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC: Fourth title of 2015 (5–4)

FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC: Fourth title of 2015 (5–4)

Pedro provides game-winner in extra time after Sevilla erase three-goal second-half deficit Messi bags two free-kick goals in first half, Rafinha and Suárez chip in as well

Pedro Rodríguez scored FC Barcelona’s fifth goal of the evening in the 115th minute as the Champions League titleholders hung on late in an exhilarating 5–4 extra-time triumph over a newly revamped Sevilla, the winners of last year’s Europa League, in the 2015 UEFA Super Cup Final on Tuesday night in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Lionel Messi scored two free kick goals in the first half to erase an early 1–0 deficit and Rafinha, filling in superbly for the absent Neymar, started and scored to put Barça up 3–1 a minute before halftime. Messi was named man of the match.

"We are delighted to start the season with this win, but it was tough," he said following the game.

Luis Suárez scored Barça's fourth after the break, but uncharacteristically slack defending gave Sevilla — down three goals with 37 minutes to go — enough space to mount a comeback.

First, Jose Antonio Reyes cut the lead to 4–2 in the 57th when he was left unattended near the far post and one-timed a Vitolo cross past the defenceless Barça goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen.

Kévin Gameiro then converted a spot kick in the 72nd to make it 4–3 before Sevilla completed the comeback in the 81st when Yevhen Konoplyanka slotted in after being left alone at the far post.

Early breakthrough

Sevilla had briefly jumped ahead 1–0 in minute three when midfielder Éver Banega beautifully curled a 20-metre free kick over the wall and past the helpless ter Stegen.

But just four minutes later Messi singlehandedly restored equilibrium to the scoreboard on a free kick of his own that was a virtual carbon copy of Banega’s.

Then, in the 16th, Messi scored a second free-kick goal, this time from 25 metres, off the inside of the post, to make it 2–1. It marked the first time Messi had scored two direct kick goals in a single game and meant that all three goals in the first quarter hour had come on free kicks.

Rafinha darted into the goalmouth to spear home a dish from Suárez in the 44th to make it 3–1.

Andrés Iniesta, who started and made his 550th career appearance for Barça, was one of the keys to the Catalans’ near total command of the midfield through the first hour of play.

Not over yet

Suárez put Barça up 4–1 in the 52nd minute on a quick feed from Busquets, who intercepted a lifeless pass deep in Sevilla territory before serving Suárez inside.

Nevertheless, Sevilla, who were overmatched up and down the pitch until Suárez’s goal, took advantage of lackadaisical defence by the Catalans to turn the game around late.

The tremendous physical effort put forth by Sevilla during their comeback late in regulation had them running on empty in the 30-minute overtime period, during which FC Barcelona enjoyed almost unfettered possession of the ball.

A foul on Messi late in extra time gave Barça a dangerous free kick opportunity. Messi's kick was blocked but he recovered and fired low through the wall. Beto made a very tough save despite being screened but watched in horror as the ball trickled away to a charging Pedro, who went top shelf for the game-winner.

Still writing history

The victory gives two-time Treble-winners Barça their fourth title in four chances in 2015. Only two more titles — this month’s Spanish Super Cup and this fall’s FIFA Club World Cup — stand between the Catalans and an unprecedented second sextuple.

It is also FC Barcelona’s fifth UEFA Super Cup title, tying them with AC Milan for tops all-time.

The newest piece of hardware gives both Messi and Iniesta their 25th career title for Barça, equalling the record of legendary midfielder Xavi Hernández.

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Força Barça

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