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Athletic Bilbao win Spanish Super Cup after 5-1 aggregate win over Barcelona

Athletic Bilbao drew 1-1 against FC Barcelona to lift the Spanish Super Cup for the first time in 31 years.

Artiz Aduriz
Artiz Aduriz celebrates after scoring in the second leg

Athletic Bilbao drew 1-1 against FC Barcelona at the Nou Camp to lift the Spanish Super Cup for the first time in 31 years. Artiz Aduriz, who had scored a hat-trick in the first leg, cancelled out Lionel Messi’s first-half strike to gift the Basque club a 5-1 victory on aggregate.

Incidentally, with that goal, Aduriz became the first player to score four goals in a Spanish Super Cup tie.

The match saw its fair share of controversies as both teams ended the match with 10 men. Just before the hour mark, Gerard Pique was sent off for arguing with the assistant referee which killed off all hopes of a comeback for the Catalan side.

Kike Sola also saw red towards the end of the game, but it was too late to cause any damage to Athletic’s party.

Barcelona’s herculean task was exemplified in the statistic they surely would have been aware of going into the game that no side had overtuned a 4-0 deficit fromt  he first leg to win the Spanish Super Copa. It did not stop Barcelona from getting off the blocks quickly going for the jugular right from the beginning trying to set the tone for the rest of the night. Though they tried repeatedly to create almost throwing the kitchen sink at the Bilbao defence right from the get-go but it wouldn’t be until the 44th minute of the game that the Catalan side would pull one back.

Lionel Messi behind it once again to send them into half time with some hope of mounting a miraculous comeback akin to the one Sevilla almost pulled off against them in the European Super Cup. The other dressing room would have been content that despite Barcelona’s blistering attack, they had maintained a good part of their lead from the first leg.

Only a few minutes into the restart, things started to turn for Barcelona, they were indulging in some dangerous play leaving their defence exposed, understandably and even central defender Gerard Pique playing high up the pitch. The Spaniard got into an argument with the assistant referee and as words were exchanged, the match referee wasted little time in sending off the Barcelona man for what can only be explained as silly decision making from Pique.

As things got heated up between the two sides even in the aftermath of the red card, a bunch of yellows were brandished by the referee in the following minutes to players from both sides.

The defining moment of the game came in the 75th minute when first leg hattrick hero Artiz Aduriz sent home his shot to level the scores on the night and give Bilbao a 5-1 aggregate lead. It would finish the same despite Barcelona’s spirited performance and the 87th minute sending off of Kike Sola for standing on Javier Mascherano.

It meant that Barcelona would not win the sextuple and that Athletic Bilbao secured their first trophy in 31 years. To make it a little more delicious, the twio sides face each other in their La Liga opener at San Mames Stadium. While many will still predict a Barcelona win, the Spanish Super Cup champions have given many people reasons to think otherwise. 

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