Messi's first title as club captain
The Spanish Super Cup finally went ahead last night and embraced controversy right up to kick-off. The RFEF (Spanish FA) deemed that the game was not a professional match thus enabling Barça to field more than three non EU-community players whilst Coutinho still waits to secure a Portuguese passport. This was yet another body blow to Sevilla, who had already publicly voiced their displeasure about the game being staged as a one-off match and in Tangier and there were even rumours that the Andalusian club were planning a boycott of the match, a threat which ultimately failed to materialise.
In the end Valverde only selected Arthur, Coutinho and Vidal to play from the start thus diminishing any problem relating to the three non EU player rule. Arthur played from the start and looked calm and poised on the ball. The other two made an appearance in the second half with the Chilean international having little time to impose himself in Tangier. Sevilla started well and went ahead early through a goal from Sarabia, a goal that even got the approval from the VAR system. Despite being in better shape physically, Sevilla were ultimately unable to hang on to their lead as their thoughts turn to the next game in their Europa League campaign as they take a slender 1-0 lead to Vilnius.
As the game wore on, Barça started to dominate and drew level through a goal from Piqué after Messi has struck the woodwork. Dembélé secured the win with a rasping shot that bounced in after striking the crossbar. Both Messi and Dembélé received the loudest cheers from the 40.000 fans at the Ibn Battouta stadium with the ground not totally at capacity for the match. Things could have worked differently had Ben Yedder not missed a last minute penalty and the blunder put an end to a night that all connected with the Andalusian side will want to quickly forget. A good night for Barça following an indifferent International Champions Cup and the first title for the Catalan side with Messi as club captain.
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