Spanish Super Cup: Barcelona claim title on away goals after stalemate
Madrid: Barcelona lifted the first silverware of the Spanish season on away goals after a 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid in the second-leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Wednesday night.
Following the 1-1 draw in the first-leg, the Catalans were left to thank goalkeeper Victor Valdes for preserving their advantage as he pulled off incredible saves from Arda Turan and David Villa either side of half-time.
Barca should have then sealed victory on the night themselves as after Filipe Luis was sent off for Atleti, Lionel Messi fired a late penalty off the bar.
Barca boss Gerardo Martino had handed a first start to Neymar as the Brazilian and Lionel Messi lined up for the first time in a competitive match since the former`s switch from Santos.
And with the South American duo in attack, Barca started brightly as Messi was just denied by a last ditch challenge by Luis and Alexis Sanchez fired wide from Jordi Alba`s dangerous cross.
Having weathered the early storm though, Atleti then started to gain a foothold and had the two best openings of the opening period.
Firstly Koke failed to connect properly when he was teed up at the edge of the box allowing Valdes to save easily before the Barca keeper made a stunning save to turn behind Arda`s sweetly struck volley.
Valdes was called upon again after the break as he parried Villa`s curling effort from the edge of the area as Atleti went in search of the away goal they needed to stay alive in the tie.
The more the visitors pushed forward though, the more they were susceptible to the Barca counter-attack and the Catalans passed up a host of opportunities to put the tie to bed.
Neymar was the biggest culprit as he squared when he ought to have gone for goal himself at the back post from Dani Alves` cross midway through the second-half.
Atleti were then reduced to 10 men when Luis saw a straight red card after he clashed with Alves off the ball on 80 minutes.
And Diego Simeone`s men were further infuriated by referee David Fernandez Borbalan when he adjudged that Pedro had been felled by a combination of Juanfran and Miranda two minutes from time.
Messi smashed the resultant spot-kick off the bar to ensure the game finished goalless.
However, it mattered little as the hosts comfortably saw out the final few minutes to claim their fourth Super Cup in the past five years.
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