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Ronald Koeman inches towards his first Barcelona trophy as Catalans reach Super Cup final

Ronald Koeman is in his first final as a Barcelona manager.
Ronald Koeman is in his first final as a Barcelona manager.
ANALYST
Modified 15 Jan 2021
Feature

January has been a very good month for Barcelona, who have won all of their matches since the beginning of the year.

The Blaugrana made it four wins from four games in 2021 when they defeated Real Sociedad in the semi-final of the Spanish Super Cup on Wednesday. Ronald Koeman’s side couldn’t win in regulation time but came out on top when the game went to penalties.

Things haven’t been rosy for Barcelona this season but the team's form is gradually beginning to pick up. So far, inconsistency has been the bane of Koeman’s side but they are slowly beginning to address this as well.

Wednesday’s Super Cup semi-final against La Real saw some players step up in the absence of their captain Lionel Messi. Frankie de Jong was particularly impressive, with his goal giving Barcelona the lead in the first half.

De Jong’s goal, however, was not enough as Real Sociedad grew back into the game and snatched an equaliser through Mikel Oyarzabal early in the second half.

Despite the Dutchman and Antione Griezmann missing during the ensuing penalty shootout, Ousmane Dembele, Miralem Pjanic and Ricard Puig scored to send Barcelona through to the final.

Reaching the final of the Super Cup means Koeman now has the chance to win his first major trophy since joining Barcelona in the summer.

The Dutch tactician has endured a tough period with the Catalans but results have massively improved in recent weeks. He has guided the Blaugrana to third in the La Liga and it would be a huge achievement if he wins the Super Cup this year.

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Barcelona will face Atletico Bilbao in the Super Cup final

Having beaten Real Sociedad, Barcelona are now set to take on Athletic Bilbao in the final of the Super Cup. The Los Leones beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the other semi-final game in the competition.

While Athletic Bilbao will be tough customers, Barcelona should have no problem winning the final if they exhibit the same determination and desire they showed against Real Sociedad.

Koeman was impressed with what he saw on Wednesday and highlighted Barcelona’s control for large parts of the game.

"It was a great game and we both played with intensity," the Dutchman said, as quoted by Marca. "Everyone had chances and we came up against a great team."
"We went through on penalties, but we suffered at the beginning with their high press. After 15 or 20 minutes, we were okay," Koeman added.

After going trophyless last season, the Super Cup offers a realistic chance for Barcelona to win a trophy this term.

Published 15 Jan 2021, 21:45 IST
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