Marc-Andre ter Stegen was the hero in the penalty shootout as Barcelona beat Real Sociedad to progress to the Supercopa de Espana final.
It was Real Sociedad who were the brighter of the two sides in the early exchanges, with Alexander Isak forcing Marc-Andre ter Stegen into a smothering save. Barcelona, though, slowly started getting into their stride after the first quarter of the game before grabbing the lead six minutes from half-time.
Frenkie de Jong made a late run into the box and rose the highest to meet Antoine Griezmann’s looping cross before finding the back of the net. However, de Jong went from hero to zero early in the second half, as he inadvertently handled the ball to concede a penalty, which was converted by Real Sociedad skipper Mikel Oyarzabal.
Both sides looked to push for the winner, which never came as the game went into a shootout. It is here where ter Stegen truly came to the fore, denying Joan Bautista and Oyarzabal, while Willian Jose hit the woodwork. For Barcelona, de Jong and Griezmann missed but Ousmane Dembele, Miralem Pjanic and Riqui Puig converted to send them to the final. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ronald Koeman’s men.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 9/10
The man who made all the difference for Barcelona. With the Catalans not the all too dominant team on Wednesday, the German international was forced into as many as six saves, with the one to deny Alexander Isak standing out. He could not deny Mikel Oyarzabal for the equaliser but ter Stegen denied the Real Sociedad captain and Joan Bautista to become the shootout hero.
Oscar Mingueza: 7/10
A surprise selection in the right-back slot ahead of Sergino Dest, Mingueza vindicated Koeman’s decision by providing a solid presence on his side and keeping a check on Oyarzabal for the most part. However, he did not provide the required outlet down the right flank, although he deserved an assist when Martin Braithwaite headed over from his cross. Made a decent impression.
Ronald Araujo: 8/10
Back into the side after recovering from a hamstring injury, Araujo saw his stock rise once again at the end of a solid performance. The Uruguayan defender hardly gave Isak an inch. Made as many as 6 clearances, won each of the ground duels he contested while also boasting a 92 percent passing rate. A star in the making.
Clement Lenglet: 6.5/10
Another player who returned to the heart of the Barcelona defence, Lenglet was reasonably solid for the most part but struggled in the air, where he lost each of his duels. His main impact, though, came on the ball, as he built up Barcelona’s play with expert precision, misplacing just 4 of the 92 passes he attempted.
Jordi Alba: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Alba. To begin with, the veteran Spaniard struggled against the pace and trickery of Portu, but he slowly grew in that duel. Did not make as big an impact going forward as he usually does, but did deliver 3 key passes. Decent enough.
Frenkie de Jong: 6.5/10
Frenkie de Jong did it all in this game. The Dutchman first handed Barcelona the lead with a super rising header, but then turned into the villain by conceding the penalty that saw Oyarzabal score the equaliser. Also missed his spot-kick during the shootout. However, in between it all, de Jong pushed Barcelona forward with purpose while also putting in a shift off the ball.
Frenkie de Jong's form lately ?
He puts Barcelona ahead with a wild header! pic.twitter.com/DDQVkOdPNM
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 13, 2021
Sergio Busquets: 8/10
Busquets has endured a difficult season till date. However, against Real Sociedad on Wednesday, the veteran midfielder rolled back the years, winning a staggering 13 duels while also producing 2 key passes. In fact, Busquets was solid in the central areas that Real Sociedad had to resort to long balls to bypass him. Vintage display by the experienced Spaniard.
A rare off night for Pedri, who was missing his link-up with Lionel Messi. While the teenage prodigy did look to engineer the openings, he only managed to create one half chance and was often seen dropping too deep to collect the ball, which reduced his influence somewhat.
Ousmane Dembele: 6/10
Dembele had the pace and trickery to get the better of Nacho Monreal on the right flank. However, the Frenchman left a lot to be desired with his end product, missing with just about every effort of his. Cool as you like to convert his spot-kick during the shootout, though.
Antoine Griezmann: 7/10
Starting through the middle in Messi’s absence, Griezmann enjoyed an eventful game. The French forward created as many as three chances and grabbed the assist for de Jong’s goal. However, his frustrations once again returned in front of goal and he skied his penalty in the shootout. Did not get punished, fortunately.
Martin Braithwaite: 6/10
With Messi unavailable, Braithwaite got a rare chance to impress, but he did not manage to grab his opportunity with both hands. Missed a couple of decent chances and should have kept his header on target, from Mingueza’s pinpoint cross. Put in the hard yards off the ball, but needs to be more clinical.
Francisco Trincao: 5/10
On for Braithwaite, this was Trincao’s chance to impress as well. However, like the Dane before him, Trincao did not really manage to make a difference and was often left isolated as well. Needs to step up.
Riqui Puig: 7/10
☑️ Volunteers to take fifth penalty kick
☑️ Scores first Barça goal
☑️ Wins penalty shootout
☑️ Sends team into Super Cup final
Not bad, @RiquiPuig pic.twitter.com/zDf1NygF56
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 14, 2021
A rare moment when Koeman trusted Puig and the young Spaniard did not disappoint. Moved the ball with purpose and made no mistake in scoring the match-winning penalty in the shootout. Will hope things change for him from here on out.
Miralem Pjanic: 6/10
On for Busquets, Pjanic held the fort well late on and buried his penalty.
Junior Firpo: N/A
A late introduction, Firpo did not play enough to warrant a rating.
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