28.08.13 Barcelona v Atlético de Madrid
FC Barcelona won the 2013 Spanish Super Cup this evening at the Camp Nou. The 0-0 scoreline this Wednesday in Barcelona, after the 1-1 from the first leg at the Vicente Calderón, means that Tata Martino and Neymar Jr are champions for the first time with their new Club. Despite the lack of goals, the Camp Nou witnessed an intense match as the Blaugrana attempted to knock down the defensive wall erected by Atletico. The match, which featured on-pitch battles all of the field, ended in a goalless draw thanks to two fantastic saves from Valdés and because Messi missed a penalty kick after Atletico had been reduced to 10 men when Filipe Luis was sent off for elbowing Dani Alves. The match started with Barça surging forward toward Atletico’s goal. Dominant in possession, the Blaugrana comfortably controlled three quarters of the pitch. That’s where Simeone’s men were waiting, dug in and adopting the same approach they had last week: excellently organised on defence, keen to commit fouls to interrupt Barça’s flow, and looking to strike quickly once possession was recovered. After 30 minutes, a through ball from Busquets wasn’t taken advantage of by Messi when the Argentine’s attempt was blocked by a lunging Filipe Luis. Simeone’s men had yet to cross into Barça territory. The match heated up as time ticked off the clock. The visiting team continued to commit fouls without much punishment from the referee: only Koke was booked in the first half, to Barça’s Cesc and Busquets (Tata’s men had committed 6 fouls to Atletico’s 12). The Blaugrana, who still dominated possession, watched as Atletico created one of the best chances of the match when Arda shot from inside the area. Víctor Valdés reacted immediately and pulled out a massive save to keep the visiting side off the board. The title was still up for grabs at the break. The time of the second half was very different from what the fans saw in the first 45 minutes. In the first half the battle for the match was in the midfield, in the second players from both sides buzzed around their opponent’s area whenever they had possession. The box-to-box pace of the match nearly saw Atlético take the lead if it hadn’t have been for Valdés, who pulled out another great save to deny David Villa. Martino brought in Pedro and Iniesta for Alexis and Cesc and Barça slowly regained control. Atletico, in dire need of a goal, lost the plot in the final minutes of the match when Filipe Luis was shown a straight red for elbowing Dani Alves and Arda was sent to the dressing room with another red after he had been subbed off by Simeone. Godín stamped on Dani Alves’ back, an infraction that wasn’t penalised, and Pedro won a penalty which was missed by Messi. Despite the error, Barça deserved to win the title. Tata Martino and his men claimed the first title of the season, the Spanish Super Cup.