Barcelona will play for the 2021 Spanish Super Cup title after a dramatic win on penalties over Real Sociedad in a spectacular semifinal. One of the most entertaining games of the season saw non-stop action for 120 minutes and a nail-biting penalty shootout, but the Blaugrana found a way to get through and they now await the winner of Thursday’s semifinal between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao.
This felt like a proper semifinal, with intense pressing and loads of shots on goal from two talented attacking teams who kept trying to score. Barça had more of the ball and looked better in the first half, but La Real always threatened on the counter and kept the Blaugrana alert.
The game seemed destined for a goalless draw at halftime, but Barça made one big play: Martin Braithwaite found Antoine Griezmann inside the box, and the Frenchman played a great cross into the path of Frenkie De Jong who headed home the opener.
At halftime, an intense and entertaining game had Barça ahead, but this was still not over and the Catalans needed a big second half to book their place in the final.
La Real came out really strong for the second half, pressing higher and having more of the ball. They got a big break when a cross from Mikel Oyarzabal hit De Jong’s arm inside the box, and Oyarzabal himself stepped up and scored the penalty to tie the game.
The rest of the second half was like a basketball game, with zero control and up and down action, with both teams attacking and counter attacking each other while also not really creating huge chances to test the goalkeepers. The intensity was sky-high, players were exhausted, and as we reached the final 10 minutes it was just impossible to know who was going to win.
And no one did. The final whistle came without a winning goal, and we were headed to extra time.
The first period of extra time belonged completely to La Real, who dominated the ball and suffocated Barça’s buildup, and Zaldua forced an amazing save out of Marc-André ter Stegen with a shot from distance. Sociedad looked like the fresher team, and Ousmane Dembélé wasted two very good counter attacks for Barça.
The second period was less frenetic with Barça trying to keep the ball more as they clearly looked to take the game to penalties, and they successfully slowed down the Sociedad charge, except for one moment: Adnan Januzaj took an exceptional free kick from 30 yards but hit the post, and Barça survived 120 insane minutes to take the semifinal to penalties.
If the game wasn’t dramatic enough, the penalty shootout was just as crazy: La Real missed their first three penalties, two of those on saves by Ter Stegen, but Barça kept them alive with misses from De Jong and Griezmann, and it all came down to Barça’s fifth and final penalty. Riqui Puig stepped up with confidence, buried the spot kick and Barcelona are going to the final.
R. Sociedad: Remiro; Gorosabel (Zaldua 91’ (Bautista 120’+1)), Zubeldia, Le Normand, Monreal; Guridi (Barrenetxea 81’), Guevara (Zubimendi 106’), Merino; Portu (Januzaj 103’), Isak (Willian J. 91’), Oyarzabal
Goal: Oyarzabal (51’)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Mingueza (Firpo 114’), Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Busquets (Pjanic 91’), Pedri (Puig 91’); Dembélé, Griezmann, Braithwaite (Trincão 78’)
Goal: De Jong (39’)