Ter Stegen, during the penalty shootout.Jose Breton / AP
The round of penalties crowned a beautiful and entertaining game, as intense and fast-paced, typical of a cup tournament such as the Super Cup. The victory could fall on the side of any team, brave and generous as both were, and if he opted in favor of Barça it was due to the merit of Ter Stegen and the success of Riqui Puig. The Barça goalkeeper was prodigious in extra time and also in the shots from 11 meters, the support of a union team, factory and hard, irreducible while waiting for the injured Messi to recover.
Barça no longer need 10 to win games but to win titles or, at least, they defeated Real without their captain, which is doubtful for Sunday’s final in Seville. The team learned to compete from precariousness and adversity while Koeman sought a stable lineup and plan that includes 10 as a full stop and not as the origin of the game, the best way to combat messide dependency. Pedri, Dembélé, De Jong, Griezmann, Araújo and Ter Stegen, the majority, have gained confidence with the Rosario on the field and are now able to resist to win without their presence in open matches such as Córdoba.
Real also plays without David Silva and has gotten used to his absence, even though he has been trapped in a negative dynamic, opposite to that of Barcelona. The classification does not condition his cheeky and cheerful personality, demanding for any rival, also for Barcelona. It was difficult for the Catalans to leave their field, lacking defenders with a good footing, Dest also injured, and very well supported by Real. The pressure from Imanol’s boys was as manifest and successful as Barça’s suffocation and lack of precision. The donostiarras raised eleven games in one, and came out winners of most of the duels, always facing Ter Stegen.
De Jong Header
The turnovers were continuous at Barça. The forwards, however, were not right and the Barça goalkeeper took a shot from Isak after being enabled by Oyarzabal. The Barça players were retained on their court, cuddled and without a passing line or fluency, and less dribbling, only stretched by a sharp Dembélé. Griezmann and Pedri did not come into play and Busquets did not know how to maneuver. Barça took half an hour to cool down the game after being subdued by Real. Once the ball crossed the dividing line and passed to the San Sebastian field, the tables changed and Barça pressed and focused on Remiro.
Dembélé did not stop offering himself, overflowing and even crossing balls from the right without anyone hitting the finish, lacking finesse forwards, until the band game changed and Braithwaite deepened from the left for Griezmann. The Dane’s movement was as accurate as the center was good, with the Frenchman’s left-foot hitting De Jong splendidly. The Dutchman started and finished the play as usual in recent games, scorer in three of the last six, excellent as a finisher since Koeman placed him as an inside after removing the 4-2-3-1.
Serenity had redeemed the suffering Barça. He did not get nervous when he had to take refuge in his area due to the harassment of the Real and marked differences in the clearest opportunity finished by De Jong. The party did not stop turning around the Dutchman of Barça. La Real, unfortunate until the break, found the help of De Jong’s elbow in an Oyarzabal center, infallible from the penalty spot: 1-1. After the draw, the match recovered for a moment the tone of the beginning, starring Imanol’s team, after Gorosabel took a goal from De Jong. Until the Catalans regained their breath and the game was equalized and opened with the two teams to an open grave.
There was plenty of room to run from goal to goal, the two teams out of control, a favorable scenario for sprinters and in which a defender like Araújo triumphed. Imanol risked more and better with the changes but failed to unbalance an increasingly epic contest to the astonishment of the nervous Messi.
Tiredness caused constant errors and left the two goalkeepers very exposed, both decisive: Ter Stegen was superb in shots from Zaldúa, Oyarzabal and twice from Januzaj, whose last shot hit the post after being brushed by the goalkeeper’s fingers. of the Barça. Remiro was also opportune against Dembélé and later against Griezmann. The coming and going was frantic, more in favor of the Real, much improved by the intervention of Imanol. Although he seemed to have more bench, team and squad than Barça, he ended up surrendered to Ter Stegen, the best of a supportive team that ended up defeated waiting for Messi after Riqui’s coup de grace.