MADRID: Luis Suarez insisted the Spanish Super Cup is not Barcelona’s yet after helping his team shoot down Sevilla 2-0 to give them a comfortable lead after Sunday’s first leg of the final.
The Uruguayan opened the scoring early in the second half, making amends for two earlier misses, before Munir El Haddadi sealed the win when he ran on to a Lionel Messi through-ball and fired home.
Having been beaten 4-0 by Athletic Bilbao in the first leg of last year’s final, Barcelona were determined to improve on that showing, setting themselves up nicely for the return at Camp Nou on August 17. “This is not decided,” Suarez told Spanish television after the game.
“In the second half we played very well. It’s important to win away from home against an opponent as good as Sevilla.”
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He was not impressed with some of the home supporters who shouted insults at him from the stands at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.
Suarez added: “They can keep talking, I’m going to do my thing, which is to play football. It’s not a problem, we are the protagonists, not them.”
Luis Enrique was thrilled with the performance, which puts his team halfway towards the first trophy of the season.
“We continue with the same ambition as always,” he said in his post-game press conference. “This team knows how to sacrifice and compete, because we want all the titles and we’ve ended up with a magnificent result.
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The coach sprang a surprise with his selection, picking Jeremy Mathieu at left-back and Arda Turan at left-wing in place of the absent Neymar, with all four summer signings left out. Sergi Roberto was also chosen out of position at right-back, ahead of Aleix Vidal.
However, by the 35th minute both Lucas Digne and Denis Suarez had to be brought on for their official debuts, with Mathieu and Andres Iniesta injuring their hamstring and knee respectively.
Iniesta was making his 594th appearance for Barcelona, taking over from Carles Puyol as the player with the second most appearances for the club, behind Xavi Hernandez, but it was ended prematurely after a fierce challenge by Gabriel Mercado.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2016.
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