Barcelona triumphs on penalties and is a finalist in the Super Cup

CÓRDOBA, Spain (AP) – In the absence of Lionel Messi’s talent to solve the match in regular time or in overtime, Barcelona had the solidity of Marc André ter Stegen in those instances and on penalties.

The German goalkeeper emerged as the hero for Barça to certify their passage to the final of the Spanish Super Cup, by winning 3-2 in the round. Wednesday’s match had ended 1-1 after extra time.

Ricky Puig made the final shot from 11 steps. Before the midfielder, the French Ousmane Dembélé and the Bosnian Miralem Pjanić were also right for the Catalan team. Two Barcelona players erred instead: Frenkie de Jong at the beginning and Antoine Griezman, who was a player from Donostia from 2009 to 2014.

Jon Bautista entered the exchange shortly before the penalties and incurred the first of three shots missed by the Real in a row. Mikel Oyarzabal and Brazilian Willian Jose failed next, before Mikel Merino and Belgian Adnan Januzaj converted.

The duel reached the shoot-out after Oyarzabal drew a penalty in the 51st minute, after scoring a hand from De Jong.

The Catalans had taken the lead in the first half with a header from De Jong at 39.

“I’m super happy, really,” said Ter Stegen. “We have made a great effort and I think we deserve the victory. This is what I always seek, to be 100 percent. You have to win these games and that’s what we did ”.

Messi, the top scorer in the history of the Spanish Super Cup with 14 goals, was ruled out shortly before the match due to the same discomfort for which he was substituted in the last match against Granada. On this occasion, the Argentine did not even step on the bench at the Nuevo Arcángel Stadium in Córdoba.

The figure was instead Ter Stegen, avoiding on three occasions the many San Sebastian that would have changed the course of the meeting.

First, the goalkeeper contained a raid by Alexander Isak at 17, in which the Swede wanted to solve with a petroleum jelly, which the German masterfully covered.

At the start of the first extra time, the goalkeeper again shone with a providential shot to a powerful shot from Joseba Zaldúa from outside the area. As the time for penalties approached, he avoided the goal by deflecting a free kick from Januzaj, which after his touch hit the post in the 117th minute.

The defeat drowned out the desire of the Royal Society to conquer this contest for the second time after the title they won in 1983.

Barcelona aspires to increase its dominance in the Spanish Super Cup in which it is the top winner with 13 titles.

The final will be on Sunday in Seville against the winner of the duel between Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid to be held in Malaga, given that the COVID-19 pandemic did not allow the contest to take place for the second consecutive year in Saudi Arabia.

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