Aritz Aduriz came back to haunt Barcelona by scoring a 74th minute strike which ensured that Athletic Bilbao would lift their first major title in 31 years, as both Bilbao and Barcelona produced an exciting display of football at the Camp Nou (First published on AllSportsNews)
Luis Enrique’s men went into Monday’s tie knowing full well what lay ahead for them, a daunting scoreline that they desperately needed to turn on it’s head.
Claudio Bravo was unsurprisingly called to replace Marc-andre Ter Stegen between the sticks, as the Germany international had managed to pull off some shock errors during the first round tie that saw Bilbao take a surprising 4-0 advantage.
With Bilbao getting the match underway Barcelona immediately pounced, producing swift short passing play aimed at unlocking Bilbao’s defensive line.
Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta played some brilliant one-two touches early on in the first half, but failed to bring the ball into the box that could have gifted either Pedro or Lionel Messi a chance to give Barcelona an early foothold.
At the other end Aritz Aduriz launched a series of attempts to trouble Bravo and the Barcelona defense with a set of swift dribbles, but the 34-year old failed to spark another upset in the opening half.
Despite Barcelona continuing to launch a flurry of neat attacking plays, the Blaugrana still lacked the cutting edge to find the first goal they so desperately required. Ivan Rakitc and Luis Suarez scuffed valuable chances to put the Catalan’s ahead.
Yet on the stroke of half time Lionel Messi was able to give the home side a foothold. A clever pass from Rakitic, which was chested down by Suarez in the opposing box, allowed the Argentinian to smoothly plant his 11th Super Copa goal into the back of Gorka Iraizoz’s net.
With new found hope, many expected Barcelona to bounce back and score another as the second half progressed.
However in the 56th minute events turned sour, as Gerard Pique momentarily lost himself and confronted the assistant referee, for what the center-back had then judged to be an offside ruling. A foolish spat saw Pique receive his marching orders, and Barcelona brought down to ten men with four goals still to score.
The Blaugrana saw Rakitic misfire a Jeremy Mathieu cross wide of the mark, whilst a quick link-up between Messi and Suarez resulted in Iraizoz halting a potential second goal.
Yet it was Aduriz who ended Bilbao’s 31-year wait for silverware, as the forward launched his first shot from the edge of the penalty area. Bravo initially came out to parry the ball away, but the Chilean was unable to prevent the Bilbao hit-man from applying the crucial second touch, earning the title-wining goal for the visitors.
The tie came to a rather heated end as Bibao substitute Kike Sola received a straight red, for a stamping challenge on Javier Maraschino’s shin.
However that blip did little to affect Bilbao, as the Basque outfit lifted their first major title since 1984.