Barcelona have won the Supercopa de España thanks to a 2-1 victory over Sevilla in Morocco and guaranteed their first trophy of the season in the very first game. Barça dominated the first half and had to fight hard in the second, but Ousmane Dembélé scored a spectacular late winner to give the Catalans another Spanish Supercup.
Despite starting plenty of World Cup stars who joined preseason very late, Ernesto Valverde saw his team completely dominate the first half with great work in possession and constant danger on the wings with both full-backs, Jordi Alba and Nélson Semedo, providing width and support for Lionel Messi and Co.
Arthur and Sergio Busquets dominated midfield, and with Messi’s tendency to roam in the middle as well, Barça established control of the match. That’s when Pablo Sarabia scored on a counter attack completely against the run of play, and Sevilla were up one goal with the chance to park the bus and force Barça to find spaces inside a very tight defense.
Conceding early didn’t make the Blaugrana desperate, however, and they showed patience and intelligence to create very good chances to score an equalizer, but goalkeeper Tomas Vaclík was always alert and kept the Catalans from scoring. But when Lionel Messi hit a free kick into the post, Vaclík couldn’t stop Gerard Piqué from scoring the rebound and bringing Barça back into the match.
At halftime, Barça were in control and really deserved a comfortable lead, but they’d have to work hard in the second half to find a winner.
Most of the starters had just one week of training, and it clearly showed in the second half. Barça’s physical levels dropped in scary fashion, and despite a couple of substitutions by the coach to try and freshen things up, the Blaugrana just could not keep up the pace from the first period and relied on Messi set pieces to create any kind of danger.
Sevilla, on the other hand, were very dangerous on the counter, and Franco Vázquez came very close to scoring in two different occasions, and the Andalusians looked closer to a goal than Barça. But the Catalans have the overwhelming advantage in individual quality, and Ousamane Dembélé proved just that when he fired a rocket from outside of the box into the top corner and gave his team the lead.
Ben Yedder came on for Mercado as Sevilla changed formations, put two strikers up top and started sending balls into the box desperately looking for an equalizer, and when Aleix Vidal ran into Ter Stegen inside the six-yard area, the referee gave Sevilla a penalty that is impossible to understand. But Ter Stegen was not letting Sevilla equalize that way, and he easily stopped Ben Yedder’s spot kick to keep his team ahead.
The last three minutes were all about surviving the Sevilla onslaught, and Barça did just that. The final whistle came, and the Catalan giants have their first trophy of the season. It isn’t the most important or the only one we want to win, but it’s much better to win it than lose it, and to further prove that the Kings of Spain are Catalans.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rafinha (Rakitic), Busquets, Arthur (Coutinho); Messi, Suárez, Dembélé (Vidal)
Goals: Piqué (42’), Dembélé (78’)
Sevilla: Vaclík; Mercado (Ben Yedder), Kjaer, Gómez; Navas, Mesa, Banega, Escudero; Sarabia (Vidal), Muriel (André Silva), Vázquez
Goal: Sarabia (9’)