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Barcelona advance to the final of the Spanish Super Cup after beating Real Sociedad 3-2 on penalties, after drawing 1-1, at the Nuevo Arcángel on Wednesday night.
It was the Real Socieded that started the best, as they had several chances to score in the top 20, the most notable being a one-on-one by Aleksander Isak brilliantly saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
However, with just under half an hour to go, Barcelona stood up and began to see most of the ball. Martin Braithwaite failed to convert two half chances, before finding Antoine Griezmann, who deliciously groomed Frenkie de Jong to head home from close range.
The second half started much brighter than the first and, five minutes after the restart, De Jong managed a Mikel Oyarzabal cross in the area, for which the referee awarded a penalty. Oyarzabal took a step forward and calmly passed Ter Stegen.
Ter Stegen was called into action four minutes into the first half of extra time, forced to a spectacular save by a piledriver from Andoni Gorosabel. La Blaugrana then saw opportunities for Dembélé and Griezmann to beg on both sides of extra time, thanks to the crucial saves by Merino. Real Sociedad’s Adnan Januzaj was brilliantly pushed from close range by Ter Stegen before seeing his 30-yard free kick miraculously slammed off the post by the German goalkeeper in the final five minutes, leading the game to penalties.
After Ter Stegen saved the first two Real Sociedad penalties, it was finally substitute Riqui Puig who converted the winning penalty to secure his team’s place in the Super Cup final.
Now to the ratings.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – 9/10 – As usual, Ter Stegen made some crucial first-class saves and performed heroic acts on the penalty shoot-out by saving two of Sociedad’s five penalties. The German was outstanding in the evening.
Oscar Mingueza (RB) – 6/10 – He was outmatched for pace on more than one occasion, but did well against tough opponents, making four tackles on the right back.
Ronald Araujo (CB) – 7/10 – He made a couple of big first half recoveries, keeping Isak at bay. He kept his baseline safe overall, making four punts and regaining possession twice.
Clemente Lenglet (CB) – 6/10 – He didn’t do much defensively, but he did well with the ball and found players with ease, finishing the game with 96% passing accuracy.
Jordi Alba (LB) – 6/10 – He came across the ball fairly regularly, but didn’t seem to be able to do much with it, making only three crosses in the game.
Sergio Busquets (DM) – 8/10 – Another subtly solid performance from the Barça legend.
Frenkie de Jong (CM) – 6/10 – He was right to convert a not-so-easy header from six yards in 39 minutes. However, he did not fare so well after the break, unnecessarily giving opponents a penalty in the 50th minute and missing a golden opportunity right after. He also missed Barça’s first penalty in the penalty shoot-out.
Pedri (CM) – 7/10 – He usually makes an impact in games, but maybe he missed the presence of Lionel Messi in front of him.
Ousmane Dembele (RW) – 6/10 – He continues to show his quality in bursts, and was unlucky not to register an assist, making three key passes, but he also proved to be a waste at times.
Antoine Griezmann (ST) – 8/10 – The Frenchman got his second assist in two games while playing perfectly with De Jong. It was difficult for me to take on the role of Messi and have the same impact, obviously, but he did a solid enough job with his ball distribution, making some key passes.
Martin Braithwaite (LW) – 6/10 – The Dane had very little service during the 90s, but did very well to find Griezmann in preparation for the opener. Other than that, he struggled to get into the game.
Trincao (LW) – 5/10 – He had the longest time on the field of all the substitutes and made the least contribution. In his 42 minutes on the pitch, the Portuguese winger made 13 successful passes, and that’s it.
Riqui Puig (CM) – 10/7 – As usual, the Spaniard looked cheerful after his presentation. He finished extra time with 92% passing accuracy before, crucially, scoring the winning penalty on the penalty shoot-out, a special moment for the youngster.
Miralem Pjanic (CM) – 6/10
Junior Firpo (RB) – 6/10