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August 19, 2011

Barcelona sends Real Madrid back to Earth

With one goal from Andres Iniesta and two from their star Lionel Messi the Catalans defeated 3-2 the Whites in the Spanish Supercup.

By Andrew Hill

Despite tying game one at home 2-2 Real Madrid had very good sensations for the last match of the Spanish Supercup final against Barcelona. For the first time in six games they were able to have more possession than the Catalans, which led them to enjoy of plenty of goal occasions that unfortunately for them were wasted by their strikers. It sure was a tricky result for the Whites deserved to have won the game, something that they were convinced that was going to happen at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

In Barcelona the sensations were good as well, for the faith in their players was intact, and the good news of Cesc Fabregas’ transfer had them in a great mood. Coach Joseph Guardiola spoke very clearly about what the keys for winning the game were going to be: avoiding fouls, controlling the possession and of course, the support from their fans.

Known as a physical team, avoiding fouls from Real Madrid sure was going to be the toughest of the three to achieve, for the Camp Nou was crowded with 92.956 spectators, and the return of their captain Xavi Hernandez to the starting 11 guaranteed them more possession, but controlling the aggressiveness from the Whites was out of their hands.

Leaded by their Argentine star Lionel Messi the Catalans were going to put themselves ahead in the scoreboard with a brilliant assist that came out from his boots, leaving Andres Iniesta face to face with the Whites goalie Iker Casillas at minute 14 to put things 1-0.

The Whites didn’t take long to react, and just 5 minutes later Cristiano Ronaldo with the help of the lineman –who didn’t see he was in offside- scored the equalizer, which also represented his 100th goal in Real Madrid.

The championship also represents the 11th title of the Guardiola era.

When it all seemed as if the game would go to halftime tied to one, at minute 44 Messi controlled a pass from Gerard Pique inside the box and scored his first goal of the night with a superb definition: he waited for Casillas to dive for the ball and resisted a tackle attempt from Ronaldo to gently lift the ball over the golie’s body and take the 2-1 lead before the break.

That goal had a psychological effect in Real Madrid, which their Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho tried to overcome by substituting Khedira with Marcelo to give them more depth in attack in the second half.

Unable to scored the equalizer Mourinho then substituted Argentine Angel Di Maria with his countryman Gonzalo Higuain at minute 64, but it was going to be French Karim Benzema who was going to tie the game to two goals a piece when there were 8 minutes to go.

This result was forcing the overtime, since in the aggregate they were tied to four, but Barcelona to appeal to Messi once again, and the striker didn’t let them down: at the 88th minute he was going to score the championship goal from a cross ball he received from Adriano, who had replaced David Villa at minute 74.

In injury time Marcelo lost his mind and violently tackled Fabregas (Substituted Pedro at minute 83) in his debut with the Catalans, which the referee interpreted as a red card and broke loose a brawl that ended with Villa and Mesut Ozil expelled from the game too, despite being on the bench.

In their fifth attempt against Real Madrid in a Supercup final Barcelona was finally able to break the bad streak of four loses to win their first title of the season.

The championship also represents the 11th title of the Guardiola era, which makes of 40-year-old coach tied with Johan Cruyff as the winningest coach in club history, and sent a reminder to Real Madrid about who the best team in the world is.

About the Author
When it comes to sports, Andrew Hill translates his passion into truthful and objective information of interest for the sports betting industry. As of today he specializes in the coverage of European soccer and NCAA basketball for BetIAS’ website.