The night quickly went from sweet to sour for Futbol Club Barcelona as they got dumped out in the semis of the Spanish Super Cup in its new format by Atletico Madrid in a match that ended 3 – 2.
This new format adopted by La Liga includes two additional teams rather than the traditional league winners versus cup winners which in turn makes it more like a super 4 tournament. Valencia C.F was the first casualties as they crashed out to a superior and utterly dominant Real Madrid side.
In the build up to the game, Atletico Madrid ran out 2-1 winners against a resilient Levante side while F.C Barcelona played out a nail biting 2-2 draw in the Catalan city derby against RCD Espanyol.
Barcelona was without the services of Ousmane Dembele, Arthur and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and on the other hand, their opponents were without striker, Diego Costa.
With 11 goals scored in the previous 6 fixtures, averaging just below 2 goals per game, fans of both sides and neutrals knew this one would be a tough fixture. F.C Barcelona would go into this game as the favorites to win with 4 wins in the past 6 games against Atletico and started the game on the front foot as they dominated in all statistics except one which was the score line.
Jan Oblak had to react quickly at his near post to keep out Leo Messi who was in inspired form on the night, his effort was quickly followed by two efforts from Griezmann. The first, a header from a corner that went narrowly wide and the second one forced a save from Oblak as he was put through on goal by Suarez.
It was then Suarez ‘s turn to test Oblak as he side footed a first time shot on goal with what turned out to be the last goal mouth action of the first half largely dominated by the Blaugrana.
22 seconds after the second half kicked off, Koke finished off a well worked team goal to put the Rojiblancos a goal up. The Blaugrana responded swiftly and 5 minutes after going a goal down, Leo Messi stepped up and after a Luis Suarez layoff forced his way into the box and fired the Blaugrana level.
The 10 minutes that followed had the Blaugrana pile pressure on Atletico and Griezmann came close to scoring 2 minutes later as he tried to lob Oblak but the Atletico stopper stood his ground and made a comfortable save, then up stepped Messi who scored a beautiful goal that got ruled out by VAR for the possibility of a hand ball during the buildup.
Almost a minute after having a goal disallowed, Barcelona went ahead in the 62nd minute through Griezmann who headed in right after Oblak pulled off a stunning save to deny Suarez at the far post. The Blaugrana were coasting to victory and even had another goal ruled out in the 73 rd minute which was scored by defender, Gerard Pique. It all changed in the 80th minute after Atletico Madrid were awarded a penalty after keeper, Neto brought down Vitolo.
Alvaro Morata stepped up and dispatched the spot kick successfully and five minutes later, Atletico turned the game on its head after a defensive error was capitalized on as Morata turned provider, setting up Angel Correa who had his shot tamely saved by Neto as the ball looped up and down into the unguarded goal.
The goal ultimately ended Barcelona’s hopes of lifting the first trophy for this season while the Rojiblancos set up a Madrid derby final with the Los Blancos on Sunday.