Messi's Barça and Sampaoli's Sevilla
With barely a moment to catch their breath from the setback in Trondheim (and that Sergio Ramos goal on 93 minutes...) Sevilla now face another final - this one, played over two legs. In recent years, Sevilla’s story has been exemplified by the number of finals they’ve contested – this will be their fourth in a very short space of time: the Europa League - won, the Copa del Rey against Barça and UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid, lost... both in extra-time. Sevilla are a difficult side to beat. And this final will be played over two legs. Tonight’s leg was due to be played on Saturday but Sevilla demanded that it should be played on Sunday, arguing that they were within their rights to request an extra day’s rest after Tuesday’s final in Trondheim, and they got what they wanted. The return leg is on Wednesday.
Sevilla will be without Kolo, Carriço and Pareja, a problem at the back, but even so there’ll be a great atmosphere tonight. The Andalucians have sold all of their allocation. There will be a few empty spaces because the Federation reserved a large quantity and perhaps not all of those seats will be filled while in the away section, 500 barcelonistas will be cheering their team on. There’s definitely something bubbling at Sevilla - for the recent successes as well as the debates about Sampaoli’s methodology which, like Guardiola’s, follows the theories of Juanma Lillo, who both consider as their mentor. The massive arrival of Argentineans at the club is another talking point. Sevilla is the club with the most Argentine players in their squad in the whole of Europa.
As for Barça, from what we saw in last week’s Trofeo Gamper, in which Messi was sensational (scoring two and setting up another, in wonderful fashion, for Luis Suárez), it looks like Sergi Roberto and Digne will come in as full-back and Arda Turan will fill the vacancy left by Neymar. Both coaches, Luis Enrique and Sampaoli, said on the eve of the game that they are up for the challenge of winning a trophy which carries merit. Mourinho made it clear that the Supercup is the most important trophy of the summer but the least important of the three domestic cups; Luis Enrique and Sampaoli take it seriously and both will be going out to win it.
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