MONACO - AUGUST 26: FC Barcelona fans cheer prior to the start of the UEFA Super Cup match between FC Barcelona and FC Porto at Louis II Stadium on August 26, 2011 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
FC Barcelona won the UEFA Super Cup 2-0 with goals from Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas. FC Porto never really got going, and Hulk was a huge disappointment. An average game, but Barcelona win nonetheless.
Starting without Sergio Busquets in midfield, it was evident Barcelona had one eye on the first game of the La Liga season. The start was slow, and Porto had the better of the first exchanges. Winning a free-kick for handball early on, Hulk had a chance to make his mark, but fired the shot over.
Joao Moutinho tested Victor Valdes with a curling effort on six minutes, but other than that, both teams flattered to deceive. Porto were pressing Barcelona, disrupting their rhythm, but were just too wasteful in possession to cause any real problems to the Barca backline.
Lionel Messi and Pedro tried to link up on the quarter-hour mark, but Rolando was there to knock the ball out of play for a corner. Both teams were content to save energy, and the match started to get tactical; with both teams cancelling each other out.
But around the 35 minute mark, Barcelona turned it up a gear, and started to create chances. Xavi had a long-range effort palmed over, before Guarin, who had been solid up until that point, made the mistake of a lifetime.
Trying a backpass to Helton, Guarin clearly didn’t see Lionel Messi, and well, Messi made no mistake. Rounding the goalkeeper, before playing the ball into the open goal. Barcelona had their lead, all without exerting too much energy.
Javier Mascherano made a good interception just before half-time, and is looking more like Carles Puyol in his play with every game. It was not the best match ever, but Barcelona were ahead, what could Porto do?
The second half started much like the first, with Porto trying their luck with long range shots. Moutinho and Guarin forced corners, but Barcelona defended them admirably, and to be honest, Porto failed to create any chances of note for the whole game. Limited to long range shots, it was all Barca offensively.
The game was slow, but Barcelona picked it up for 5 minutes here and there, with Pedro slipping over when granted a one-on-one opportunity. David Villa and Adriano were replaced by Sanchez and Busquets clearly with Monday in mind, but the defense was not staying mistake free.
Mascherano headed back, despite the claims of Valdes, and Porto would have been through, but Abidal calmly headed it out for a corner. However, he turned villain a few minutes later, as his poor touch went to Guarin, and his tackle was less than convincing. Porto claimed a penalty, and while it would have been harsh, it was a good shout; Barcelona escaping in that respect.
Porto were frustrated, and boy did it show.
Rolando tripped Messi, receiving his second booking, and well, it was the final nail in the coffin. Again, Lionel Messi was imperious, lifting the ball over the defense, before Cesc Fabregas – a substitute for Pedro- stroked it home on the volley.
Two official games, two trophies for Cesc.
The game ended on a sour note, with Guarin getting a straight red for his lunge on Mascherano, but Barcelona had won the UEFA Super Cup!
Man of the match goes to Lionel Messi, who scored and assisted, taking his tally to 4 goals and 3 assists in 3 games. Simply world-class.
This win was the 12th trophy under Pep Guardiola and the 76th for FC Barcelona, taking them ahead of Real Madrid. A historic day then for Barcelona, even if the game itself was poor.
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Messi (171 votes)
Mascherano (22 votes)
Other (12 votes)
205 total votes