Tangier (Morocco), Aug 13 (IANS) Ousmane Dembele scored a spectacular 25-yard shot with just over 10 minutes remaining and goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen saved a last minute penalty to give FC Barcelona a 2-1 win over Sevilla in the Spanish Supercup.
The game on Sunday night, played in Tangier was the first in an official Spanish tournament to be played in another country and allowed Barcelona to gain confidence ahead of the new football season against a Sevilla side who made them work for their win, reports Xinhua news agency.
French forward Dembele had enjoyed a lively performance before deciding the match with a stunning shot, with just over 10 minutes remaining.
But German ter Stegen was also a hero as he saved a last minute penalty from Wissam Ben Yedder after the keeper had harshly been judged to have fouled Aleix Vidal, who returned to Sevilla from Barcelona over the summer.
FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde left recent signing Malcom out of his side, thus avoiding any controversy over having more than three players without EU passports in his side, while Phillipe Coutinho was on the bench.
With new coach Pablo Machin in charge, Sevilla opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Pablo Sarabia scored after a swift counter-attack with the referee De Cerro Grande making use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system for the first time in a Spanish game to ensure the Sevilla midfielder wasn’t offside.
Sevilla were compact and well-organised but Barcelona dominated the ball and began to create chances with Messi and Jordi Alba both seeing shots saved by Sevilla keeper Tomas Vaclik, before defender Clement Lenglet, signed by Barcelona from Sevilla in the summer, headed over.
Luis Suarez also fired wide, but Barcelona finally drew level shortly before halftime when Messi’s free kick hit the post and fell kindly for Pique to poke into the empty net.
Barcelona brought Ivan Rakitic on for Rafinha for the start of the second half. There were few chances in the game until the hour when the impressive Vaclik saved another free kick, while Fran Vazquez saw a header hit the top of the Barca crossbar following a corner.
Dembele had a good chance to put Barcelona ahead with 27 minutes remaining, but Vaclik again denied him. And the new arrival at Sevilla, Vaclik did even better with a double block to deny Suarez and Messi with less than 16 minutes on the clock, although his efforts were in vain as moments later Dembele’s thunderbolt put Barcelona ahead.
There was still tie for the penalty drama, but Ben Yedder’s penalty was weak and allowed Ter Stegen to make a save which avoided extra time.
It was Barcelona’s record-extending 13th Spanish Supercup title.