Dembele seals Supercopa success for Barcelona
Ousmane Dembele hit a brilliant winner as Barca defeated Sevilla 2-1 in Tangier.
Ousmane Dembele scored a screamer and Wissam Ben Yedder missed a last-minute penalty as Barcelona came from behind to lift the Supercopa de Espana at Sevilla’s expense.
The game, held on foreign soil for the first time at Tangier’s Stade Ibn Batouta, had been in some doubt with Sevilla unhappy about a relaxation of rules around non-EU players.
Barca drew the sting from that row by leaving summer signing Malcolm out of their matchday squad and still had the firepower to win the game 2-1.
The Spanish champions conceded the lead when Pablo Sarabia scored inside 10 minutes, went in level after Gerard Pique snapped up the rebound of a Lionel Messi free-kick and moved ahead when Dembele rifled into the top corner.
Ben Yedder had a chance to equalise from the spot in the closing seconds but his tame effort was easily saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Barca settled quickly but found themselves on the wrong side of a swift counter attack that left them chasing the game.
Jordi Alba’s clearing header fell kindly for Luis Muriel and the Colombian darted straight for the box.
After wrong-footing Barca’s defence with quick feet he slotted a pass for Sarabia, who bent a first-time shot inside the post. The reaction came quickly but was not decisive, Messi and Alba both denied by new Sevilla goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.
Pablo Machin’s side flirted with a second when a Franco Vazquez cross sailed agonisingly over Muriel’s head at the far post but Barca were more persistent.
Luis Suarez, played onside by Simon Kjaer, fizzed a shot low and wide across goal before Ever Banega gave up a dangerous free-kick in a central position.
Messi clipped his effort hard, flat and wide of the wall and was only denied by the post. A second touch against the woodwork came via the back of Vaclik’s head but that is where Sevilla’s luck ran out, with Pique arriving to turn home the rebound.
Barca sent on World Cup finalist Ivan Rakitic at half-time, Rafinha making way, and Philippe Coutinho was just a few minutes behind as a replacement for Arthur.
Sevilla would not go down quietly, though. With an hour gone Vazquez made a smart run to the near post to meet Banega’s corner, arching his neck and flicking a back header against the crossbar.
Ter Stegen was entirely beaten and watched helplessly as the ball bounced clear. Vazquez issued another warning when he let fly from distance and missed the target by a matter of inches.
Vaclik made a fine double save from the double act of Suarez and Messi but barely had time to savour it before Dembele struck.
With white shirts standing off him the winger moved into space and sent a rocket into the top corner.
Aleix Vidal guaranteed late drama when he was bundled over by Ter Stegen but his fellow substitute Ben Yedder produced a tame spot-kick which begged to be saved.