Barcelona 1-0 Shakhtar Donetsk: Late, Late, Pedro And Messi Show Gives Barca European Super Cup

Barca UEFA super cup

The Blaugrana, despite fatigue, deservedly found the winner deep into extra time.

Barcelona left it late to overcome a steely Shakhtar Donetsk side to win the European Super Cup at the Stade Louis II in Monaco.

After a goalless ninety minutes, and tired legs aplenty in extra time, young substitute Pedro Rodriguez combined well with Lionel Messi to net the decisive goal.

PedroIn doing so he added the Super Cup to Barca’s 2009 trophy tally, which already includes the Liga, the Champions League, the Copa del Rey, and the Spanish Supercopa.

Barca started the game with good pace, especially down the flanks, Lionel Messi bringing out the best in Darijo Srna and then goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov.

Thierry Henry, playing on the other side, was just as impressive as a great solo action resulted in a neat shot that just went over the bar ten minutes in.

Most of the attacking play for the Miners, too, came down the wrings. Razvan Rat’s cross for Ilsinho in the 15th minute was very close to connection before Seydou Keita managed a clearance.

From there Barcelona were the superior side for the remainder of the half, but only a Lionel Messi effort well saved by Pyatov just after the half hour mark really had the fans on their feet.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, apparently lacking a bit of fitness, could have carved out a chance for himself just on the verge of the break, but a lack of control allowed Rat to tackle, and the half closed with a tentative handball claim against Shakhtar.

Shakhtar looked more accomplished defensively in the second period, especially in the centre, as they held the Blaugrana away from many clear-cut chances in the second period.

Part of the reason they did so was down to physical play, Ilsinho and Srna picking up early bookings, but in doing so they also freed themselves up on the counter. Were it not for a lack of cutting edge, and a great tackle from Eric Abidal on the hour mark, Fernandinho could have opened the scoring.

Twenty minutes from time Barcelona burst into a period of life. Thierry Henry came close with an acrobatic effort after a Dani Alves cross; Pyatov got a hand to a great Messi effort; and good work from Xabi and Henry resulted in a disappointing miss from Ibrahimovic.

That said, ‘Ibra’ had a good claim for a penalty turned down twelve minutes from time, his last real act before being substituted off.

There were to be no goals at all, though, as extra time loomed, and Shakhtar made two changes of their own.

As Bojan came on for Henry, there was sign that fatigue was taken its toll on other Blaugrana players as pacy Shakhtar substitute Julius Aghahowa was allowed one-on-one with Valdes, only for the forward to hesitate and Puyol to mop up.

But two minutes later Aghahowa showed composure to test Valdes from the edge of the area as the Blaugrana defence toiled behind.

Bojan’s solo effort at the other end signalled the end of the first half of extra time, Luiz Adriano having a penalty claim against Sergio Busquets turned down at the restart, as the tired players edged towards the 120 minutes.

It seemed that penalties were inevitable, but Lionel Messi has never been one to face long odds with timidity. Instead he received the ball from Pedro outside the box and then threaded a marvellous return pass through the central defence for Pedro to slot home the winner.


~ by footballdirecta on August 29, 2009.

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