Barcelona took a huge leap towards another Sapnish Super Cup title with a 2-0 victory over last season’s Copa del Rey Runners-up Sevilla on Sunday at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán stadium.
Second half efforts by Luis Suárez and substitute Munir sets things up nicely for the Spanish Super Cup return leg at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night.
Jeremy Mathieu and Arda Turan were Barca’s only squad players in their first competitive match of 2016-17 as Sevilla made four changes from the side that lost 3-2 to Real Madrid in the European Super Cup earlier in the week, among them new new boys Gabriel Mercado and Matias Kranevitter.
A cagey opening spell was interrupted by a filtered pass from Lionel Messi into Suárez, whose shot was blocked by Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico. The chance helped spring the game to life and quickly it turned into a back and forth affair between both teams.
After Jeremy Mathieu failed to make it to the half hour mark, Barcelona’s injury worries grew substantially more serious 10 minutes before half-time when Andres Iniesta was forced out with a knee problem and was replaced by Denis Suárez.
With their attack stalling thanks in part to the effort of Jorge Sampaoli’s charges, Barcelona’s frustration grew as Sevilla made it impossible for Messi to wiggle free time the Argentine collected the ball.
But within 10 minutes of the re-start Luis Suárez fired home to give Barcelona a 1-0 lead after Denis Suárez and Arda Turan combined to set up the Uruguayan.
By the final half-hour heavy tackles were seen and teams had appeals for a penalty, but in each instance it was waved off by the referee.
Barcelona never continued their hunt for a second goal and 10 minutes from normal time, Messi spearheaded a counter attack before locating substitute Munir who struck home to hand Luis Enrique’s side a 2-0 lead and a massive first leg advantage in the series.
Sevilla: Rico; Mariano, Mercado, Rami, Escudero (Sarabia 55); Kranevitter (Ganso 69), N’Zonzi; Vitolo, Vazquez, Kiyotake; Vietto (Ben Yedder 61)
Barcelona: Bravo; Sergi, Pique, Mascherano, Mathieu (Digne 27); Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta (Denis 36); Messi, Suarez, Arda (Munir 77)