THE Spanish football season looks to be kicking off in style after Barcelona lifted the Uefa Super Cup at the end of a dramatic, nine-goal match. The Champions League winners met Europa League title-holders Sevilla for a game that’s often ignored, but this one was breathtaking.
Barcelona lined up without Neymar, who was ill, and got off to a shaky start. A stunning free kick from Sevilla’s Ever Banega put the Andalucian underdogs on top in three minutes.
It wasn’t to last, though, and Barcelona were 4-1 up by the 52nd minute, even with a Luis Suarez goal chopped off as offside, although the Uruguayan did get his name on the scoresheet alongside Messi with two and the Brazilian, Rafinha.
Sevilla, however, were not about to lie down. Reyes pulled it back to 4-2 for them, then Scottish referee Willie Collum awarded a penalty when Mathieu pulled down Vitolo, and Kevin Gameiro calmly made it 4-3. Full of hope by then, Sevilla had more chances for the equalizer before Konoplyanka tapped in their fourth on 81 minutes, and this drama was heading for an encore.
In extra time a Messi free kick rebounded and it was Pedro, who started on the bench and is rumoured to be heading to Manchester Unitedd, who snapped it up to send in his 99th goal for Barca.
A whirlwind of a game, with magic from Messi, and opponents who refuse to be killed off. It all bodes well for the opening of the domestic season, when Barca will meet Athletic Bilbao in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Friday (August 14).