Barcelona have won the European Super Cup with a hard fought 5-4 victory over Sevilla.
The all Spanish affair started at frantic pace when just three minutes in, Ever Banega put Sevilla in front with a well taken free kick that gave Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen no chance.
Barcelona were soon back on level terms as Argentine maestro Leo Messi curled in a replica free to tie the scores at 1-1.
Messi was at his mercurial best again as in the 16th minute he gave Barcelona the lead with another delightful free kick.
With the scores at 2-1, both teams appeared to take a breather as the pace of the game slowed with goal mouth action few and far in between.
With one minute of the first half remaining, Luis Suarez had a great chance to score but Sevilla goalkeeper, Beto, pulled off a fantastic save. Saurez collected the loose ball and was somehow given the time and space by the Sevilla defense to pick out a pass which the onrushing Rafinha side stepped into the net.
The second half resumed win Barcelona looking to put Sevilla to the knife and their efforts were soon rewarded as Liuz Suarez finally got his goal seven minutes in the second half after Benoit Tremoulinas’ sloppy pass was picked off by Sergio Busquets and he in turn rolled a pass to Suarez, who swept home a first-time shot.
With 57 minutes gone, Sevilla were given some slim hope of a comeback as Jose Antonio Reyes stabbed home a vitolo cross.
The comeback was truly on as Jeremy Mathieu tugged Vitolo to ground and referee Willie Collum did not hesitate to point to the spot.
Kevin Gameiro stepped up and duly converted the resulting penalty to cut Barcelona’s lead to just one goal with 18 minutes of the game to go.
Sevllia were back on the front foot as they went in searched of the equalizer, coach Unai Emery made two substitutions, throwing on Ciro Immobile and Yevheniy Konoplyanka.
It was an inspired substitution and both men combined to get the equalizer when Immobile’s low centre from the right was tapped home by fellow new boy Konoplyanka.
The match went into extra time but the drama was not over just yet. The first half of extra time passed with any meaningful event but with five minutes for the second half of extra time left, Barcelona were award a free kick after Messi was foul.
The Argentine stepped put but couldn’t find the target this time as his shot was blocked by the wall. The ball bounced kindly for Messi as he struck it beautifully to force Sevilla goal keeper Beto to into a smart save.
Beto could not hold on the ball from Messi’s shot and Pedro was on hand to fire in the rebound.
The game almost had one last twist in injury time as Immobile crossed for Adil Rami but, with the goal gaping the ball cannoned off the France defender’s knee and went agonizingly wide of the left post.
Culled from TodayNg