The La Liga and Europa League champions locked horns at the Vicente Calderon as both Barcelona and Sevilla looked to increase their trophy haul for the season.
When these two sides met early in the season in a UEFA Super Cup encounter, it ended with Barcelona taking home the trophy in a nine-goal thriller that finished 5-4. However there was to be no such goal-mouth action at the home of Atletico Madrid tonight on the night of the cup final, as the game ended with a 0-0 scoreline at the end of normal time. Some great defensive resilience shown by both the sides meant there were very few tangible goal-scoring opportunities to talk about through the course of the ninety minutes.
However, when Mascherano was sent off in the 36th minute for bringing down Kevin Gameiro and Luis Suarez forcibly brought off in the 55th minute due to a hamstring injury, the initiative was with Unai Emery’s men to take advantage and take home a memorable cup success. Gerard Pique, though, with a solid performance in the back-line ensured Sevilla’s numerical advantage didn’t cause Barcelona too many problems as he helped the La Liga Champions take the game to extra-time. Sevilla had Ever Banega sent off for a poor challenge on Neymar.
In extra-time, the effects of a European Cup final began to show on the Sevilla players who seemed worn out and tired. It enabled the Barcelona midfield to take full control over the centre of the park as the likes of Iniesta, Busquets and Messi established their class, composure and endurance on the big night as goals in 96th minute and 122nd minute finished off Unai Emery’s. side TheHardTackle takes a look at how each of the players from both the sides fared in what certainly was an entertaining cup final.
Marc Andre ter Stegen – 7
Was called out to make some fine saves on the night. His touch that tipped the ball over the crossbar off an Ever Banega free-kick was the German’s best save. Otherwise didn’t have too much to do thanks to a solid defense in front of him.
Jordi Alba – 8
The left-back has been ever-consistent for Barcelona in his position and yet again proved how indispensable a player he is to Luis Enrique’s side with a solid defensive performance capped by a brilliantly taken goal in the 6th minute of extra-time.
Gerard Pique – 8.5
Was arguably Barcelona’s best player of the evening. He helped fend off attack after attack during Sevilla’s positive spells in the final that helped his side stay in the game and go for the kill later on in extra-time. The Spaniard was also a constant nuisance for the Sevilla back-line during set-piece situations.
Javier Mascherano – 4
Following a steady start, the Argentine was all over the place towards the end of the first half and in an attack that saw Kevin Gameiro through, Mascherano hauled the Frenchman down by tugging at his shirt. An offence that earned him a straight red.
Dani Alves – 6
Not the best of nights for the Brazilian against his former team. The right-back was quite often caught out of position and gave a region to exploit for Sevilla. Didn’t offer much going forward either.
Sergio Busquets – 7.5
Helped win the midfield battle towards the end of the game, especially in extra-time. Was responsible for several crucial blocks coming at the back of an attacking spell from Sevilla following Mascherano’s sending off.
Andres Iniesta – 8
The midfielder was a class apart for the Catalans. Showing immense composure on the ball and great control that forced a lot of fouls from the Sevilla players and in-turn helped his side earn free-kicks from crucial areas in the park.
Ivan Rakitic – 6
Was relatively quiet throughout the first half with the Croatian struggling to impact his side’s attacking endeavours and was eventually withdrawn at half-time as Luis Enrique was forced to do so following Mascherano’s sending off.
Lionel Messi – 8
Assisted both the goals for Barcelona. His dribbling skills were on point and showed a great passing range which he established with his long pass to set Jordi Alba through on goal to give Barcelona the lead.
Luis Suarez – 6
Was lively up front for Barcelona and had arguably the best chance of the game in normal time to give his side the lead when Iniesta scooped a ball into the box which the Uruguayan picked up and shot it just wide of Sergio Rico’s post. Was substituted before the hour mark following a hamstring injury.
Neymar – 7
Was a constant threat down the left flank for Mariano Ferreira. Made well-timed runs through-out the game to give Barcelona as many attacks going forward as possible. Rewarded for his persistence with a goal in the 122nd minute of the game after picking up a well-timed Messi pass before curling the ball past Rico into the net.
Rafinha – 5.5
Was Suarez’s replacement after the Uruguayan was hauled off in the 55th minute due to a hamstring injury. Didn’t provide any threat going forward and was largely only part of build-up play rather than contribution in the final-third.
Jeremy Mathieu – 6
An able replacement for Mascherano with a solid display along with Pique to keep Sevilla attackers at bay.
Sergi Roberto – N/A
Brought on late into extra-time. No substantial impact.
Sergio Rico – 8
Sevilla’s player of the night was kept busy throughout Barcelona’s torrent of attacks in extra-time. The youngster couldn’t have done much with the goals but otherwise presented a solid example of why he is so highly rated by Sevilla.
Mariano Ferreira – 7.5
Did extremely well to mute the attacking threat of Neymar down his throat and thwarted many an attack down his side of the park. Although his usual attacking self was compromised in his efforts to contain Neymar.
Daniel Carrico – 7
Had a fine evening in defence for Sevilla. Carrico pulled off a number of tackles and crucial blocks before getting himself sent-off for showing dissent following a challenge on Messi that was wrongly yellow-carded. Other than the sending off, a lot of positives to take back home for the defender.
Adil Rami – 6.5
Other than getting booked for a poor challenge on Neymar, Rami had a fairly solid evening in the office for Sevilla. Was physically and mentally worn out during the closing stages of extra-time.
Sergio Escudero – 6
While he was exploited by Liverpool on Wednesday, he was given an easier outing against the Catalans with the left-back also providing a decent option going forward for his side.
Iborra – 6
Put his physicality and aerial ability to good use and proved to be a real nuisance for Barcelona during set-piece situations.
Krychowiak – 7
Another solid outing for the Polish international. He did well while on the ball and his control and technique on the ball had his Barca counterparts induce numerous errors and fouls to hand Sevilla the opportunity to attack from advantageous positions.
Ever Banega – 6.5
In what was probably his last outing in a Sevilla shirt, the Argentine shined in his role, holding possession and tracking back as when required. Unfortunately it was in such a role that he was forced to bring down Neymar and get sent-off to bring his side down to 10 men towards the end of normal time.
Vitolo – 6
Covered a lot of ground throughout the night and was well committed to his marker. However there was a lack of output in attack from him.
Coke – 6.5
Sevilla’s hero from the Europa League, it was another solid performance from the Spaniard as he executed his job well at both ends of the park.
Kevin Gameiro – 7
Provided a constant worry for the Barcelona defence as his movement forced a clumsy challenge off Mascherano that eventually saw the Argentine sent off. Not as lively as he was against Liverpool.
Yevhen Konoplyanka – 5.5
Expected to be the impact substitute and having come on for Mariano, he was set to provide more bodies for Sevilla going forward. Didn’t have much to show for in his performance.
Fernando Llorente – N/A
Brought on in the second half of extra-time with little impact.