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Barça are Catalan Super Cup Champions. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

FC Barcelona won the first ever edition of the Catalan Super Cup at the Estadi Montilivi in Girona this evening after the game with RCD Espanyol ended 1-1 after 90 minutes. Luis Enrique’s side dominated from start to finish but were unable to add to a Gerard Piqué header after 15 minutes. Espanyol pulled back through Arbilla shortly after the break, and with no further scoring the game went to penalties. The shootout went Barça’s way, as it also had against the same side in the last two finals of the Copa Catalunya.

Suárez magic

Luis Enrique had promised to take the game seriously and he did, starting with nine first team players, including Pedro wearing the captain’s armband, Jordi Masip getting his first start since the preseason and Luis Suárez leading the attack. And it was the Uruguayan who got the first chance of the night when Sergi Roberto laid him up with a header on 8 minutes. Two minutes later and it was Suárez who was doing the laying up, and in brilliant style. Inside the six-yard box and when it looked like the best option was to shoot, he deftly lofted the ball over the head of Espanyol keeper Pau to pick out Gerard Piqué, and the centre back nodded home at the far post.

Barça were in absolute domination of the ball, although real chances to extend on their lead were seriously lacking. All the same, it took 41 minutes for Masip to get the chance to show his worth, and he certainly showed that worth by defying Víctor Álvarez in a one-on-one.

Espanyol bite back

Both sides made wholesale changes after the break, and a considerably livelier Espanyol managed to get back on level terms after just five minutes. Arbilla executed such a perfect free-kick that there was next to nothing that Masip could have done about it. The Barça keeper was again called upon to prevent Jairo from heading home a corner after 68 minutes, and produced the best save of the evening when Abraham volleyed inside the area in the final minutes.

Barça had their fair share of chances in the second half too. The best fell to Munir, who couldn’t quite get enough on a terrific through ball from Xavi, and to Halilovic, who ended a fine solo run with a shot that skimmed narrowly wide of the Espanyol post.

Shootout kings

But there would be no further scoring, and after 90 minutes, the game went straight into a penalty shootout. There were worried looks on the Barça faces when their second kick, taken by Sandro, was saved. But Espanyol missed two of their own, leaving it all down to Ivan Rakitic to convert the decisive penalty and ensure that the brand new Catalan Super Cup trophy will be going on display in the FCB Museum.

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