By Calvin Palmer
Lionel Messi turned on the magic again to give Barcelona a 3-2 win at the Camp Nou in the second leg of the Supercopa against Real Madrid, a result htat meant the Catalan side became the Supercopa champions 5-4 on aggregate.
Messi was sublime. His first piece of magic came 15 minutes into the game when a defence-splitting pass saw Iniesta racing clean through before lifting the ball over the advancing Real Madrid goalkeeper Casillas.
A minute before half-time, Messi struck again in his more usual role as a goal scorer. He seized on a back heel from Pique in the Real Madrid penalty area and bore down on the goal, deftly chipping the ball over the diving Casillas to restore Barcelona’s lead.
Messi’s strike had the guile of a truly great goalscorer, quickly sizing up that a conventional shot would be blocked by the keeper. Messi’s delicate shot over the goalkeeper’s outstretched body reminded me of a golfer’s chip shot from the edge of the green.
In the second half, Barcelona eased back a little and paid the consequences when Real’s big striker Benzema steered the ball home at the second attempt when Barcelona’s defence failed to clear the ball from their six-yard area.
With just two minutes remaining on the clock, Messi met a ball whipped across the face of the goal by Adriano and rifled a fierce volley into the back of the net. Casillas had no chance to react.
With four minutes added by the referee, the match turned ugly when Marcelo – he really does need treatment for his psychotic tendencies — scythed down Barcelona’s latest acquisition Cesc Fàbregas.
Marcelo, who had been booked previously, was shown the red card. He should have been sent a few minutes into the second half when he deliberately kicked Messi as the two men challenged for a high ball.
Justice was eventually done and seen to be done.
Marcelo’s sending off resulted in a melée in front of the dugouts. I think a few punches may have been traded but it was impossible to tell. Özil who had been substituted managed to pick up a red card for his involvement in the altercation.
When the game restarted, I have the feeling the referee blew up a little earlier than the four minutes of added-on time to avoid any further flashpoints. Barcelona were the Supercopa 2011 champions.
I watched the match on ESPN3.com, which took the broadcast shown on ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s Latino channel.
The commentary by Fernando Paloma, Martin Ainstein and Mario Kempes was in Spanish made more sense to me than the drivel spouted by Ray Hudson on Gol TV and I do not speak Spanish. Kempes’ credentials as an expert commentator, he played in La Liga and was a member of Argentina’s World Cup winning team in 1978, are far more substantial than Hudson’s 40 games for Newcastle United over a four year period.
I doubt Kempes referred to every player as a genius or described anyone as being “magisterial”.
The match on ESPN3.com was a delight to watch, even if I did not understand a word of the commentary, and infinitely better than my Gol TV experience in the first leg on Sunday.