|Spanish Super Cup 2006/2007|
The Spanish Supercup is played over two legs just before the start of the regular season between the league champions and the cup winners, who last season were city neighbours Barcelona and Espanyol respectively. Dates finally set for 17th and 20th August, with the first leg at Espanyol's Montjuic stadium, and the return in the Nou Camp. (07.07.06)First leg - 17 August 2006
Espanyol 0 - Barcelona 1
Zabaleta, Lacruz, Jarque, David García; Rufete (Coro 62'), Edu Costa,
Fredson, De la Peña (Riera 67'); Luis García, Tamudo (Pandiani
Barcelona are on the way to retaining the Spanish Supercup title after beating city neighbours Espanyol in their first leg match. Frank Rijkaard's side had only just returned from a grueling trip to America, and they were almost caught out early on by their hosts, Víctor Valdés having to beat out a couple of shots from Fredson early on. But Barça got in to their stride after that, and Iraizoz did well to keep out Xavi before Giuly missed a good chance. And with a minute to go to half time the visitors took the lead when Ronaldinho drew the defence before setting up Giuly for him to curl a shot past Iraizoz.
Lacruz got the ball in the net soon after the restart only to be pulled up for offside, but that was about the last attack the home side managed. Deco, Eto'o and Oleguer all put shots over the top, and substitute Messi came on to put Iraizoz to the test following Ronaldinho's quickly taken free kick. The keeper was called upon again to stop efforts from Ronaldinho and Messi, and Motta curled a free kick just over the bar. In the end though the scoreline didn't move, but Barça are still looking strong favourites to wrap things up in the Nou camp in three days' time.
PS. After the game ended Espanyol made a formal protest to the Federation for the inclusion of Puyol and Xavi in the line up. Both players had been called up by Spain for the friendly with Iceland but had pulled out due to injuries, and Espanyol's interpretation of FIFA rules was that they should not have been allowed to play within five days of that match. The Federation turned down the claim as they said that the players had undergone medical checks and had been released from the squad, but Espanyol may still appeal to a higher court.
|Second leg - 20 August 2006
Barcelona 3 - Espanyol 0
Belletti, Puyol, Márquez (Thuram 46'), Van Bronckhorst; Xavi, Motta
(Iniesta 66'), Deco; Messi, Eto'o (Gudjohnsen 46'), Ronaldinho. 4-3-3.
A comfortable win for Barcelona in the second leg of the Spanish Supercup, a 3-0 win over city neighbours Espanyol giving them their first title of the season. The game was shrouded in controversy after Espanyol appealed against the inclusion of Puyol and Xavi in the first leg line up just two days after they pulled out of Spain's friendly with Iceland alleging injuries, and although the Federation turned down their claim, the club is expected to appeal.
Both players were included in the second leg starting line up though, with Barça reportedly more than usually motivated after the incident. Frank Rijkaard's side were already two goals up within the first 12 minutes, Xavi losing his marker to head Ronaldinho's centre wide of Kameni, and Deco adding a second after Belletti laid the ball across. Ronaldinho could have added a third with a shot just wide of the post, but the visitors had a couple of chances themselves before the break, Rufete, Pandiani and Fredson all bringing confident saves out of Jorquera, who was given a run out in place of Víctor Valdés.
With a one goal lead from the first leg the game was already over, and Rijkaard brought on new signings Gudjohnsen and Thuram at the break, a move which upset Eto'o who left the ground without waiting for the end of the match. Jorquera was in action early on to punch clear a dangerous cross, but Kameni had to save from Ronaldinho before Deco wrapped things up with a spectacular scissors kick. Luis García curled a free kick just over the bar and Pandiani and Riera kept Jorquera on his toes as Espanyol looked for a consolation goal, but Deco could have made it four with a late shot across goal. Barcelona had their first title of the season though, and they have five more in their sights.
|Super Cup 2005/2006
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