Barcelona lifted the Spanish Super Cup for a record 13th time after they came from behind to beat Sevilla 2-1 at Stade Ibn Batouta on Sunday.
Sevilla 1 Barcelona 2
Sarabia (9′) awarded opener by VAR
Vaclik kept busy by Blaugrana
Pique (42′) equalises with simple tap-in
Dembele (78′) rifles home winner
Ernesto Valverde’s side had to dig deep for the victory, though, after Pablo Sarabia gave Los Rojiblancos a dream start on nine minutes with the opener.
Barca finally hit back through Gerard Pique just before half-time and they completed the comeback 12 minutes from time when Ousmane Dembele fired an unstoppable shot past Tomas Vaclik from outside the box.
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Barcelona dictated play from the get-go, but found themselves trailing after nine minutes as VAR made an early introduction into Spanish football.
Luis Muriel did well to wriggle away from his marker before slipping in Sarabia on the right, and the winger curled a first-time shot beyond Marc-Andre ter Stegen from 12 yards out.
The goal was flagged offside, but the referee overturned the decision upon review on the touchline monitor.
Sevilla were caught napping on 15 minutes when a short corner on the left was worked to Lionel Messi, who forced Tomas Vaclik into a low save at his near post from seven yards out.
Vaclik was called into action again three minutes later when Jordi Alba latched onto Messi’s threaded pass and tested the keeper from a narrow angle on the left.
Messi then played in Luis Suarez on the right in the 24th minute, but the Uruguayan striker’s tame first-time shot from 20 yards out was easily saved by Vaclik.
Clement Lenglet was next to deny Messi an assist three minutes later when he nipped in between two defenders to head the Argentine’s free-kick from the left over at the back post.
Suarez should have restored parity after beating the offside trap from Arthur’s neat pass on 37 minutes, but he flashed a low strike wide of the far post from seven yards out on the right.
However, the Blaugrana were level five minutes later as they benefitted from a huge slice of luck. Messi’s free-kick from 20 yards out hit the base of the right post and ricocheted back off Vaclik onto the woodwork again before rebounding into the path of Pique, who slotted into an open net from close range.
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Pablo Machin’s troops nearly went back in front moments later when Muriel advanced into the area on the left and cut the ball back for Sarabia, whose first-time shot from seven yards out was well saved by Ter Stegen.
The first half ended with Messi playing a one-two with Ousmane Dembele and getting off a shot from 17 yards out that was deflected wide of the near post.
Messi attempted to beat Vaclik on the hour mark with a free-kick from 25 yards out on the left that the keeper punched away at his near post, while Franco Vazquez was just inches away from putting the Andalusians back in front two minutes later with a glancing header at the near post that landed on top of the crossbar from a corner.
The Catalan giants continued to dominate possession and Dembele fired too close to Vaclik from 18 yards out after being played in by Messi on 63 minutes.
But Los Rojiblancos remained a threat as Vazquez curled a left-footed shot just wide of the right post from 19 yards out on 68 minutes after turning sharply on the ball to make space for himself, before Jesus Navas played a one-two with Andre Silva and volleyed straight at Ter Stegen from a similar position eight minutes later.
Vaclik produced a fine double save soon afterwards to deny first Suarez from an angle on the left and Messi on the follow-up from close range, but there was nothing he could do on 78 minutes as Dembele received a quickly-taken free-kick on the right and arrowed a shot in off the bar from 20 yards out.
There was controversy in the final minute when Ter Stegen conceded a penalty for colliding with Aleix Vidal, who attempted to latch onto a loose ball. The German keeper made amends, though, as he chose the correct way to save Wissam Ben Yedder’s weak spot-kick.