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Messi, the hero again

(Xinhua)

10:07, August 18, 2011


Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates his goal against Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas during their Spanish Supercup second leg soccer match at the Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona August 17, 2011. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


MADRID, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Leo Messi was again the hero for FC Barcelona as he scored two goals to take his side to a 3-2 win over Real Madrid in the return leg of the Spanish Supercup.

The result gave Barcelona a 5-4 aggregate win over Madrid, who will claim they deserved more, from the two legs, the first of which ended in a 2-2 draw in Madrid, but despite their physical superiority Jose Mourinho's side is still unable to match Barcelona's touch play.

Real Madrid made one change for the game in relation to Sunday's clash with new signing Fabio Coentrao coming into the side for Marcelo, while Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola decided to play the 11 that beat Manchester United in the Champions League final last May.

That meant that Xavi Hernandez, Pedro Rodriguez, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets came into the side, while new signing Cesc Fabrigas was on the subs' bench.

Cristiano Ronaldo had the first chance of the game after less than a minute following a rare Xavi error, but Victor Valdes made the save.

Slowly the match settled into a routine with Madrid looking again to pressure high up the park and Barcelona looking for long controls.

The control of the game changed quickly in a fast and competitive game, but Iniesta put Barca ahead after 15 minutes with a clever chip over Iker Casillas after being put through on goal by Leo Messi.

Madrid quickly showed they were not out of the game and Ronaldo broke the offside trap and levelled the scores from close range after 20 minutes following a corner.

Ronaldo then hit the crossbar five minutes later with a powerful shot that Valdes just touched with his fingertips. The Barca keeper had to save again from Mesut Ozil on the half hour as Madrid looked to get on top.

Messi drew a save from Casillas as the game swung again Barca's way and then scored Barca's second with another great finish following Pique's backheel just before half time. It was slightly harsh on Madrid, but once again Barca showed their immense talent in front of goal.

The second half began with controversy as Marcelo, who had come into the game for Khedira, clearly kicked out at Messi as the two jumped for the ball. The incident saw players from both sides involved in recriminations, although Marcelo escaped without punishment.

Pepe was booked for a nasty foul on Messi before Villa headed over the bar and Madrid brought on Gonzalo Higuain for the ineffective Angel Di Maria.

Madrid were trying to use the full width of the pitch with Coentrao on the left and Ronaldo on the right, but their best chances came from set pieces and Ramos should have scored as he was left unmarked at a corner.

Madrid drew level after 83 minutes as Karim Benzema scored from close range as Adriano failed to clear another Madrid corner.

Guardiola reacted by bringing Seydou Keita into the game, while Cesc Fabrigas also made his debut to a huge ovation, just two days after completing his transfer from Arsenal.

It was an inspired change as Cesc set up Adriano who crossed for Messi to score the winning goal two minutes from time to send the Camp Nou into raptures.

The game ended with ugly scenes between both sides after Marcelo was sent off for another vicious challenge on Cesc. Both Villa and Ozil were shown red cards for their involvement, even though both players had already been taken out of the game. It was not the ending the Supercup deserved, but that did nothing to stop Barca's celebrations.

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