A Lionel Messi double inspired European and Spanish champions Barcelona to a 3-2 victory over bitter rivals Real Madrid in their Super Cup second-leg clash and a 5-4 aggregate win.
The ill-feeling between the two sides was apparent throughout, but boiled over at the end of the match which saw three players sent off.
Barcelona were far from their best with their players looking rusty as they lacked their usual cutting edge, while Real played with determination. Andres Iniesta put Barca ahead with a deft finish before Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 100th goal in a Real Madrid shirt to equalise. Messi, though, proved to be the key player as he scored at the end of the first half and again three minutes from the end with French striker Karim Benzema finding the back of the net in between.
“Words fail me in how to congratulate my players on how they played tonight,” said Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola. “They are extraordinary and legendary players.”
Guardiola only gave new £29million signing former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas a few minutes of playing time towards the end of the game. But it was enough time for Marcelo to be dismissed for a late challenge on the Spanish midfielder.
Villa and Ozil were also red carded in the subsequent angry exchange – the latter being sent off from the substitutes bench as he had gone off earlier in the half – which prompted Guardiola to issue this warning after the match.
“Marcelo got a red card because we all know what happens after tackles in certain areas of the pitch,” said Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho. “It was a spectacular game from the first to last minute. But from the first minute of the second half, and I don’t criticise it because I know people do it, the ball boys hid the balls.
“It happens with small teams when they find themselves in difficulties.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2011.