FC Barcelona fell to a 1-0 loss in the final of the Catalunya Super Cup against Espanyol, as Felipe Caicedo’s early goal was enough to separate the two sides in Tarragona.
Luis Enrique made plenty of changes to the usual starting eleven, with Jordi Masip between the sticks as well as a handful of Barça B players in and amongst the likes of Denis Suárez, Jérémy Mathieu and André Gomes.
Despite the many changes in personnel, the philosophy remained the same as Barça dominated possession in the early stages, patiently probing to break down the Espanyol defence.
However, it was Espanyol who took the lead with their very first venture into Barça’s penalty area as a defence-splitting pass from Jose Antonio Reyes found Caicedo who rounded Masip before tapping home for the opener on ten minutes.
On 25 minutes, Barça lost possession in a dangerous area of the field but Caicedo and Reyes were unable to seize their opportunity as the defence regrouped to clear the threat.
Barça’s possession remained constant in the first period but they were unable to unlock a stubborn defence. Denis Suárez managed to pick the lock with a fine chipped pass to Gomes but it was a swing and a miss from the Portuguese man.
The blaugrana’s best chance of the half came ten minutes before the end when Denis cut inside his man with his first touch and unleashed a powerful low effort but Espanyol keeper Roberto got down low to deny the former Villarreal player.
Barça’s dominance continued into the second period, but so did Espanyol’s disciplined defending. Just before the hour mark, Aleñá swung in a fine ball but Paco Alcácer, at full stretch, was unable to make contact.
Denis was Barça’s brightest spark in the final third, constantly looking to create a key chance or having a go of his own. As the clock ticked on, he had a go with his left foot from the edge of the box but his effort was comfortably stopped.
Youngsters Palencia, Alfaro, Mujica and Sarsanedas came on as Barça went all out for the equaliser but Espanyol held firmed to take the Catalunya Super Cup.