Koeman misses out on first trophy
Ronald Koeman was only a few minutes away from landing his first trophy as Barcelona boss but saw the Supercopa snatched away when Oscar de Marcos equalized in the 90th minute and Inaki Williams then sealed the win with a stunner in extra-time.
The Dutch boss had almost been enjoying himself recently after seeing Barca go nine games unbeaten in the build-up to the match but the scrutiny will be back on the coach after another disappointing evening.
It may have only been the Super Cup but this was still a chance for Barca to pick up a trophy for the first time in 18 months and try to move on from a really dismal spell. Instead Athletic delivered yet another wake-up call to the Catalan giants who head home having also now played 120 minutes twice in a week in the midst of a hectic fixture list.
The game came almost exactly one month before Barca resume their Champions League campaign against Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 and highlighted how improvements are still needed and fast.
Defensive issues continue for Barca
One area where big mprovement is still needed is in Barca’s defense which continues to be a huge source of frustration. Individual errors have cost Barca all season long and lapses in concentration were on show once again on Sunday.
Clement Lenglet continues to look a liability in the backline, while Jordi Alba may have played his part in both of Barcelona’s goals but then he also played his part in a couple of Athletic goals too. Not really what you want from a defender.
On the plus side, Ronald Araujo continues to offer hope for the future and put in another strong showing, but Barca’s continued lapses in defense and seeming inability to defend set-pieces is simply not good enough.
Bittersweet night for Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann’s performance was one of the few positives Barca can take from Sunday’s defeat as the Frenchman bounced back well after missing a penalty in the shootout win over Real Sociedad.
The World Cup winner opened the scoring with a neat finish five minutes before half-time and then thought he’d won it in the second half with another composed strike to put Barca 2-1 up.
Griezmann now has four goals and three assists in his last four games for Barca and has hit form after a run of eight games without a goal. He also maintained his fine goalscoring record in finals too.
5 - @FCBarcelona's Antoine Griezmann has scored five goals in his last four finals in all competitions for club and country (two for Atlético vs Marseille in Europea League, one for France vs Croatia at 2018 World Cup and two against Athletic in #Supercopa 2021). Stellar. pic.twitter.com/O3wiDaqj12— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 17, 2021
Unfortunately for the Frenchman is was all for nothing and his search for a first title with Barca continues.
More Marcelino misery for Barca
Marcelino took charge of Athletic for just the third time on Sunday night but saw his team follow up their semi-final win over Real Madrid with yet another impressive performance to claim the trophy.
Barca won 3-2 at San Mames just over a week ago but simply couldn’t match the Basque side’s intensity and desire in Seville.
It’s not the first time that Marcelino has upset Barca in a cup final either. The coach oversaw Valencia’s win over Barcelona in the final of the Copa del Rey in 2-1 in 2019. That match saw Marcelino end a run of 20 games without a win against the Catalan giants.
1 - Marcelino García Toral has become the first manager in history to win two one-legged finals in a row against Barcelona in all competitions, winning with different teams (Valencia in Copa del Rey 2019) and @Athletic_en (Supercopa 2021). Master. pic.twitter.com/CEH3RHwPbz— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 17, 2021
The bad news for Barcelona is that they have to face Marcelino and Athletic yet again at the end of the month. The Basque side arrive at the Camp Nou on January 31st for the third meeting between the two sides in a month. Another 3-2 in the offing?
Messi frustrations boil over
The smile has been back on Lionel Messi’s face in recent weeks but was wiped off again by Athletic as the captain saw red for the first time in his Barcelona career on Sunday.
There had been plenty of talk about whether Messi would play in the build-up and he was back in the starting XI for the match. Yet the captain didn’t finish the game as he was given his marching orders after lashing out at Asier Villalibre off the ball deep into extra-time.
1 - After 753 appearances in all competitions, Lionel Messi has been sent off in a game for Barcelona for the first time. Red.— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 17, 2021
Messi has made his frustrations at the club plain this season but for once they finally boiled over on the pitch on Sunday as Barca came within a whisker of winning the Super Cup but saw it slip away.
The captain didn’t look quite fit, but ended up playing 120 minutes anyway, and was probably wondering how Athletic still had 11 men at that point too. Iker Muniain could have had at least three yellow cards, while Dani Garcia was on a yellow when he smashed his head into Frenkie de Jong’s face.
Villalibre was also on a yellow when he deliberately blocked off Messi and should have walked too but his offence was completely ignored by referee Gil Manzano and the VAR crew.
Messi now faces a ban for his red card meaning more time on the sidelines. The captain is expected to be suspended for at least two games and possibly more depending on how the competition committee views the incident.