The round of penalties brought a Barça-Madrid as the final of the Super Cup. The Catalans also needed luck from eleven meters to defeat Betis. Ter Stegen stopped the shots from Juanmi and Carvalho and classified Barcelona. The goalkeeper was the best of a disconcerting team whose games slip away, lacking in personality and trade, doomed to some regrettable endings that belie the best starts, in Riyadh and at the Camp Nou.
Bravo, Pezzella, Juan Miranda, Luiz Felipe, Aitor Ruibal (Sabaly, min. 78), Guido Rodríguez (Guardado, min. 85), Fekir (Loren Morón, min. 90), Rodri (Juanmi, min. 78), Canales (William Carvalho, min. 45), Luiz Henrique and Borja Iglesias (Willian José, min. 67)
Ter Stegen, Koundé, Alba (Marcos Alonso, min. 78), Ronald Araújo, Sergi Roberto (A. Christensen, min. 78), Frenkie De Jong (Busquets, min. 63), Pedri, Gavi (Kessié Franck, min. 95), Ousmane Dembélé (Ferrán Torres, min. 63), Raphinha (Ansu Fati, min. 85) and Lewandowski
goals 0-1 min. 39: Lewandowski. 1-1 min. 76: Fekir. 1-2 min. 92: Ansu Fati. 2-2 min. 100: Loren Moron.
Referee Carlos del Cerro Grande
Yellow cards Fekir (min. 47), Sergi Roberto (min. 60), Luiz Henrique (min. 68), Raphinha (min. 73), Guido Rodríguez (min. 79), Juan Miranda (min. 91) and Guardado (min. 111)
It was difficult for Betis to enter the game in the Super Cup. They are a very cheerful team and brimming with so much confidence after reaching the Champions League zone that for a moment they even seemed unconcerned about their rival in Riyadh. Pellegrini’s challenge was unequivocal since he brought Canales together with Fekir, Luiz Henrique and Borja Iglesias. A formation of players without Guardado or Carvalho and with a single support in the middle like Guido. The ambitious Verdiblancos seemed willing to even keep the ball against the possessive Barça. The Barça response was not exactly cautious, as happened in the Metropolitan, but it was just as brave as that of the opponent because Xavi arranged for De Jong as a center midfielder and recovered the two extremes, Dembélé and Raphinha, a proposal forgotten since the fiasco of the Bernabéu.
The Barcelona plan worked better than that of Betis. The Verdiblancos lost the leather twice in a row as soon as they took off from the center due to the good pressure from Barcelona. The Catalans quickly recovered the ball and pressed up in search of Lewandowski. The striker, however, did not connect with the wingers or the midfielders and Barça could not finish off the disconnected Betis. Barcelona’s academic football lacked spiciness, the players were stuffed with the ball and there was hardly a shot counted in addition to a goal disallowed by Pedri due to an offside by Raphinha. The move marked in any case a turning point in the game. Betis began to gain meters and their arrivals were clairvoyant due to the vulnerability of the Barça squad, too stretched out and not very compact, delivered to their central defenders Koundé and Araujo, and to Ter Stegen.
The Barcelona goalkeeper was splendid, especially with two shots, one especially difficult from Luiz Henrique, and the foreshortenings of Koundé and Sergi Roberto prevented Betis from scoring. The Verdiblancos did not defend well either, as was noted in the play for Lewandowski’s goal. No one covered Pedri’s exit from his court and the man from Tenerife connected with Dembélé. The winger beat Ruibal and assisted Lewandowski, denied in a first shot due to the blocking of Luiz Felipe and accurate in the rejection: 0-1. The Barca transition was much more effective than the game of control imposed at the beginning of a match that was increasingly open by decision of Xavi and Pellegrini. The Verdiblanco coach corrected himself at half-time and removed Canales to put on William Carvalho in an attempt to gain consistency while Xavi kept the two wingers despite the fact that the team split and conceded good shots to Betis.
The Catalans tried to cool down the game without success, excessively passive, very contemplative against the impatient Betis. Barça does not know how to rest with the ball and turnovers occur at each appointment, also permeable against Betis. The contest lost rhythm with no more protagonist on the Barça side than Dembélé. The Frenchman, however, felt discomfort and was replaced while Busquets, in his 700th game, took De Jong’s place. The round of changes, which also affected Borja Iglesias, stirred up a clash that Barça did not know how to govern nor did Betis find a way to attack, intimidated only by Araujo. Nothing new on the part of a Barça team exposed every day to an error, an accident or a success by the opponent, confident of an agonizing victory that does not always occur as Espanyol demonstrated.
History repeated itself in the Super Cup due to the success of Betis after one of Ferran’s many turnovers. The Verdiblancos walked around Ter Stegen’s area for a long time in the face of the passivity of the Barça defense until Fekir finished off. Extra time was inevitable after the semi-automatic offside intervened again to cancel out a goal from Lewandowski and Bravo shined in a shot from Ansu Fati.
The striker claimed responsibility in extra time with a great goal after a free kick by Marcos. The non-conformist Ansu crossed a spectacular shot to which the unprecedented Loren responded shortly after with a beautiful heel shot before the Araujo brand. The azulgranas do not know how to close the games or the extensions and they turned to a penalty shootout that faced the two goalkeepers who between 2014 and 2016 coincided at Barça: Ter Stegen, in top form, won the game against Bravo.
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