The unofficial opener to the season, the European Super Cup, was dominated, and won by – Barcelona (2-0). Who else? The Midas touch continued for Barcelona and Guardiola, mostly thanks to Lionel Messi, who scored the opener (with a lot of luck) and brilliantly set up the second goal, Cesc Fabregas debut goal for the club. Porto weren’t much of an opposition.
Maybe that’s a bit of an unfair assessment – Porto were the more dangerous side during the first half. The notoriously bad pitch in Monaco and the pressure by the Portuguese champions on Barcelona’s midfield gave Porto the edge. Hulk was a handful, Moutinho and Guarin were doing great. Then came a terrible back pass without looking, something that has ruined a Champions League Semi Final for Porto against Manchester United two years ago (Bruno Alves), and Lionel Messi made things a whole of a lot simpler for the European champions.
That was pretty much it. Barca took over the midfield, Pedro and Messi started creating chance after chance. It was the brilliant football we’re used too, but hey, it’s early, and Porto, despite losing Falcao for tons of cash and their head coach to Chelsea for a big pile of bills as well are a well trained group, one of the more enjoyable sides to watch last year Europe.
A red card to Rolando paved way for a Barcelona victory. Porto were looking for the equalizer, but it was Messi with a fantastic chip to a striding Fabregas, netting in the volley to finish off the game. Fredy Guarin had to paint the ugly scene of the night with a deliberate lunge at Javier Mascherano earning him the second red card in injury time. UEFA conspiracy? Lets leave that to Mourinho and ‘real Madridistas’. Frustration gets the best of players, who try to hack away at better players.
So Messi wasn’t brilliant a night after winning the UEFA Best player award, but was efficient, clinical, just when needed. The Copa America, traumatic to a certain extent, I’m sure, doesn’t seem to have any effect on the best player in the world what so ever.