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article imageOp-Ed: Barcelona beat R.Madrid 5-4 on aggregate to win Spanish Super Cup

By Christopher Bates     Aug 18, 2011 in Sports
Barcelona - If there was ever any doubt that Real Madrid and Barcelona are two of the best teams in the world, last night's conclusion to the Spanish Super Cup was living proof.
Following a 2-2 stalemate in the first leg on Sunday, we were certainly in for a treat. A treat only El Clásico can deliver.
Barcelona didn't waste any time getting started. A perfect through-ball from Lionel Messi set Andrés Iniesta free, although questions had to be asked about Madrid's defence. One-on-one with Iker Casillas, Iniesta cleverly dinked it over Spain's number one from 17 yards. Barcelona had drawn first blood.
A determined Madrid pegged back just five minutes later. Mesut Özil's corner found Karim Benzema on the edge of Barcelona's area, allowing the Frenchman to drive the ball back into the box. Despite some minor confusion over who got the final touch, Cristiano Ronaldo was credited for steering the ball into the back of the net from close range.
Just as he did in the first leg, Lionel Messi - arguably the greatest player of all time - gave Barcelona a 2-1 lead on the brink of half-time. Although the ball was initially headed clear from Barcelona's corner, it fell straight into the path of Messi. The Argentinian chested the ball down to Gerard Piqué, who played a perfect back-heel to put Messi through on goal. Almost identical to Iniesta's goal, Messi chipped the ball over Casillas from six yards.
The clock was ticking on Madrid's chances of capturing their second trophy under José Mourinho, but Benzema drew his team level with just eight minutes to spare. Kaká's corner was driven into the danger zone, and with Barcelona failing to deal with it, a goalmouth scramble was concluded when Benzema struck the ball into the bottom left-hand corner from six yards. Extra-time was on the cards. Or was it?
While it looked as if Madrid were in with a chance of accomplishing what Manchester United couldn't, Messi quickly silenced any believers in the 88th minute. Making his Barcelona debut after signing from Arsenal on Monday, Cesc Fàbregas made an instant impact. He was involved in some beautiful link-up play with both Adriano and Messi, which was concluded when Messi answered Adriano's cross in precise fashion, thus capturing Barcelona's 10th Super Cup.
The tie soon turned ugly in injury-time. Marcelo's reckless challenge on Fabregas resulted in a mass confrontation in which he, Özil and David Villa were sent off (despite Özil and Villa having already been substituted). Mourinho was even caught pinching the ear of Tito Vilanova - Barcelona's assistant coach.
Following the game Mourinho openly criticised Barcelona. "Marcelo got a red card because we all know what happens after tackles in certain areas of the pitch.
"It was a spectacular game from the first to last minute. But from the first minute of the second half, and I don't criticise it because I know people do it, the ball boys hid the balls.
"It happens with small teams when they find themselves in difficulties."
Meanwhile, Barcelona midfielder Xavi made his own opinion public. "Real Madrid should be concerned about the image it is giving, it's very damaging.
"Marcelo's tackle has no place in football. Totally shameless, a real shame for football in general this image generated by Real Madrid."
Pushing the violence aside, only one question remains: Who can stop Lionel Messi and Barcelona?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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