Barça lost the Spanish Super Cup in Madrid by the narrowest of margins after they were defeated 2-1 and with the 3-2 win in the Camp Nou last week lost on the away goals rule. The team could walk away with their heads high though, as they came back from a poor start, finding themselves two down and with just ten men within the first half hour. Adriano’s red was a tough blow, but Messi’s goal at the end of the half brought Tito Vilanova’s team right back into the tie.

The Madrid crowd were made to suffer despite their team playing the last hour with that one man advantage, as Barça’s ten men then put in a great second half, with chances for Pedro, Alba, Montoya and in the dying seconds, Messi, whose shot went inches wide.

Bright start from the hosts

Right from the off, Madrid went for the goal which would bring the tie level and Valdes was soon in action, making a superb stop from Higuain on six minutes. However, there was nothing he could do five minutes later, as the Madrid striker pounced on a mistake in the Barça defence to fire under the keeper. Barça were looking unusually shaky at the back and Madrid did their best to take advantage with deep through balls to exploit their forwards’ pace, with Cristiano Ronaldo in particular finding space to score on 18 minutes and then force Adriano’s expulsion in a similar move ten minutes later.

Valdés and Messi prove decisive

After just 30 minutes, Madrid looked to have the game in the bag – two up and playing against ten men as they laid siege to Valdés’ goal, but the keeper was brilliant in keeping out the hosts’ attackers and Barça gradually began to find their feet and begin to get closer to Casillas’ goal . Montoya – who had been left out of the squad, then come in on the bench after Alves’ injury in the warm up and finally brought on once Adriano had been sent off – was the first to really threaten the Madrid goal on 37 minutes.

The second chance fell to Messi, just before the break and the Argentinean fired home a lovely free kick from 25 yards out, swerving it round the wall and to Casillas’ left to stun the Bernabeu and give Tito’s side a glimmer of hope for the second half.

Domination, but no goal

If Madrid had dominated in the first half, it was a different story after the break, as Barça held onto the ball and kept Madrid caged up in their own half. Pedro came agonisingly close on two occasions, using his speed to cut in from the wing, then both full backs -–Jordi Alba and Montoya- both came close, whilst it fell to Messi in the final seconds of injury time to so nearly win the tie, only for his shot to go just wide as the Bernabeu crowd held their hearts in their mouths. In the end though, the Madrid fans celebrated the final whistle as their team took the trophy despite Barça’s brave effort.

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