Spanish Super Cup: Atlético 1 – 1 Barcelona
David Villa and Neymar score in first leg of Super Cup
Atlético Madrid will travel to Barcelona next week with every chance of winning the Spanish Super Cup, after the first leg was undecided.
The Copa del Rey winners beat the reigning Spanish league champs on Wednesday night, but lost on Thursday morning, as the game, which started at 11:00 pm, finished 1-1.
Atleti had taken the lead after just 13 minutes, when Victor Valdes couldn’t stop a spectacular strike. Of course it had to be David Villa, Spain’s all-time top scorer who switched teams this summer, who netted against his old club.
He did so by smashing home a volley after a lightning quick break by the Rojiblancos down the left side. Arda Turan crossed the ball to Villa, who scored from just inside the box with an amazing hit.
Ten minutes later Villa again found himself in a great position to score after good work by Gabi and Koke, but El Guaje was under too much pressure from Piqué and Mascherano to get a shot off.
Atlético disrupted Barcelona’s passing game with their compact 4-1-4-1 formation, not allowing the trio of Xavi, Iniesta and Lionel Messi to see much of the ball. The latter was taken off at half time after picking up a minor injury in the first half, in which he was completely invisible.
Both teams became frustrated with each other’s fouls and playacting (*cough*Jordi Alba*cough*), while Atleti had reason to complain about Undiano Mallenco’s refereeing, as the man in blue handed out cards left and right for the boys in red and white, while neglecting to book Fabregas for a blatant foul, or to send off Sergio Busquets for a number of bookable offences.
Barcelona started the second half strongly and had a big chance to equalise, but Thibaut Courtois did well to deny Alexis Sánchez. In the rebound, Fabregas seemed able to knock the ball into the empty net, but instead Cesc was knocked over himself by a late challenge.
A minute later Courtois was again called to action to stop Iniesta’s shot, while at the other end, Miranda came within an inch of heading home Koke’s inviting free kick.
Just when Barcelona’s storm seemed to have calmed down, they struck. Xavi and Dani Alves combined on the right side and the Brazilian crossed to the far post, where his countryman and fresh sub Neymar surprised Juanfran and headed past Courtois to level the score at 1-1.
Within seconds after kicking off, David Villa found himself in a great position to score, but Valdes positioned himself well to block the striker’s attempt.
The final chance was for Alexis Sánchez, who shot straight at Courtois. Both teams seemed to run out of gas in the final quarter of an hour and were happy to take a draw to next week, when the teams will again be lining up at 11:00 pm on Wednesday night.
|David Villa 13'||Neymar 67'|
|21 August 2013|