Golden Messi Gives Barca Third Straight Supercup Against Real
Messi’s double and Iniesta’s opener gave FC Barcelona their tenth Spanish Supercup as Pep Guardiola’s side edged Real Madrid 3-2 last night at the Camp Nou.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema leveled the score twice, but a late goal scored by the Ballon d’or helped the Catalans finish the Supercup double with a 5-4 aggregate result. As expected, tense and disgraceful moments forced the referee to show nine yellow cards, but also three reds, two of which taken by Real’s Ozil and Marcelo and one by David Villa.
The game saw both sides chase an early lead, Ronaldo being the first to miss a great opportunity in the third minute. The Portuguese was picked on the edge of the box, but the shot was saved by a vigilant Valdez who tipped the ball away for a first corner. Barca’s first clear occasion came ten minutes later through Messi whose finish was denied by Casillas in what should have been a more difficult test for the Spaniard.
Iniesta then opened the goal with a beauty. Messi beat his mark in the middle only to feed free Iniesta with a perpendicular pass the midfielder converted home with a sensational lob from the edge of the box past exited Casillas. Real broke back in the 19th minute through Ronaldo who leveled the score with a short deflection which followed a great action on the left developed by Benzema.
The hosts struggled to take back the lead immediately as Pedro was denied by Casillas one minute later in what could have been an early break through. Cristiano Ronaldo missed his first huge chance in the 25th minute, his dangerous shot from the edge of the box being saved by the same Valdez who wouldn’t concede any goal until the half time. Khedira was the first to receive a yellow card in the 26th minute for a foul on Busquets.
Messi first edged his first goal in the 35th minute. The Argentine started a personal exquisite dribbling three Real players only to be dismissed by the keeper who laid down long enough to stop him from putting his side back into the lead. Xabi conceded his first yellow in the 40th minute for a foul on Madrid’s newly arrived Coentrao who was given full confidence by Jose Mourinho, being kept on the pitch throughout the entire 90 minutes in his second official game for the Spanish side.
Three minutes from half time Messi made it 2-1 with a superb lob past Casillas. Barca won a corner on the left, the cross being controlled by Pique who fed Messi with a lovely heel pass the star converted into a long awaited advantage. The half time went 2-1 to the Catalans, but the second would reserve a crazy atmosphere, both figuratively and literally.
The first ten minutes of the last half brought three yellow cards with Ronaldo, Busquets and Pepe among the leading roles. Mourinho introduced Higuain for Di Maria in the 63rd minute, but the Argentine striker would not shine brighter than his substitution. Two back to back chances were then missed by Barca as neither Messi, nor Busquets could beat Casillas in the 66th minute.
Benzema tried his luck with a volley from insdie the box a couple of minutes later, but his shot went well wide into the stands. Sergio Ramos also missed a big opportunity in the 71st minute. A cross from the right overflew the entire bundle, the ball coming to the Real defender whose header went just wide in what should have been a second equalizer. Pep Guardiola replaced David Villa with Adriano, keeping Cesc Fabregas sideline for the end of the game.
Ramos picked his first yellow in the 76th minute for a tough challenge on Adriano. Eight minutes from the final whistle Benzema finally made it 2-2 after a ridiculous control of the ball from the Barca defence who allowed the French striker to place his ball for a quick shot from close range through defenders’ legs into the right hand post.
But that was also the turning point of the game as agony would surround Real Madrid right afterwards. Fabregas was given ovation as the former Arsenal player replaced Pedro in the 83rd minute. The newly arrived and introduced stayed behind the Messi’s winner in the 87th minute. Fabregas picked Messi who played Adriano on the edge of the box, who then fed back Messi for an outstanding action the finish of which was converted home with a superb flying shot from the same Ballon d’Or who gave his side a well deserved win. Barca thus avoided the extra time, winning their tenth Spanish Super Cup in history.
FC Barcelona – Victor Valdez; Abidal, Pique, Mascherano, Dani Alves; Busquets, Xabi, Iniesta; Villa, Pedro, Messi. Reserves: Thiago, A. Fontas, A. Sanchez, A. Correia, J. Pinto, S. Keita, C. Fabregas.
Real Madrid – Casillas; Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, Coentrao; Alonso, Khedira, Di Maria, Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo; Benzema. Reserves: A. Adan, Marcelo, Arbeloa, Kaka, J. Callejon, G. Higuain, R. Albiol.11