Athletic takes Spanish Supercup after draw at Nou Camp

August 18, 2015

Last night saw the return leg of the Spanish Supercup, which saw Athletic Bilbao visit the Nou Camp after their 4-0 home win against FC Barcelona. Faced with a huge task it was always unlikely that Barça would score the five goals necessary to take the title, while at the same time preventing Athletic from scoring, but a consolation prize might have been to at least win the home leg. But alas, it was not to be in a hard fought match that at least provided plenty of entertainment. It also saw Athletic Bilbao win their first title in 31 years.

Barça came on looking for an early goal and the initial onslaught against the Athletic goal looked like it might produce the hoped for result. However, there was no goal in the early minutes and despite dominating possession as is their usual style Barcelona were unable to make it count despite a number of good attempts. And then, just before the break Mascherano and Suarez set up Messi to score the opener. While Barcelona was a long way from where they needed to be going into half time, they were at least ahead.

The Catalans turned up the pressure after the break as both sides aimed to score. However, 10 minutes into the second half Gerard Pique was given his marching orders after criticising a linesman’s decision. With four more goals required and one man down what was already a tall order suddenly got much harder and whether the ref was justified in showing Pique the red card is debatable. As I understand (and maybe I’m wrong on this) it only the captain is supposed to question refereeing decisions, which makes sense. But that rule is almost never applied. Officials need to be spared abuse from players (and I don’t know what Pique said), but the rules need to be applied consistently.

Despite being down to ten men Barcelona continued to fight, but the title was effectively seals when Aduriz scored the equaliser quarter of an hour from the end. Soon after the visitors where also down to ten men after Kike Sola brought down Mascherano.

In the end Athletic deserved the title but at least Barcelona were able to put on a good fight in front of the home fans. The league starts next weekend with Barcelona heading to the Basque Country for their opening match against Athletic Bilbao – again.

1-0 Messi (min 42)
1-1 Aduriz (min 73)

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