La Liga - Messi double sinks Real in Camp Nou thriller

Thu, 18 Aug 00:01:00 2011

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona downed Real Madrid 3-2 to claim the Spanish Super Cup in a wonderful contest at the Camp Nou that was marred by a late feud on the touchline involving both teams.

La Liga - Messi double sinks Real

Real had fought back twice on the night as goals from Cristiano Ronaldo (20) and Karim Benzema (81) had cancelled out goals by Andres Iniesta (15) and Messi (44) for the home side before Messi's second of the night on 86 minutes enabled Barca to claim the trophy with a 5-4 win on aggregate.

The pair had contested a 2-2 draw in the first leg at the Bernabeu on Sunday.

All hell let loose two minutes into four added on by the referee as Marcelo's disgraceful two-footed challenge on Barca debutant Cesc Fabregas - who replaced Pedro with eight minutes remaining after his £35 million switch from Arsenal - prompted a spat on the touchline between players and officials from both clubs.

Marcelo was shown a straight red card as players from both sides pushed and shoved each other with Real boss Jose Mourinho appearing to prod a Barca assistant coach in the ear with his finger. Gonzalo Higuain also grabbed at the throat of Barcelona's substitute goalkeeper Jose Pinto.

The German international midfielder Mesut Ozil also had to be restrained before the referee's final whistle sparked wild celebrations on the home bench as Barca lifted the first major trophy of the season in Spain.

In scenes reminiscent of the feud that escalated during Barca's 2-0 away win over Real in the first leg of last season's Champions League semi-final, it later emerged from the chaos that the rowing Ozil and the Barca striker David Villa had been shown red cards from the bench, despite both men being replaced during the second period.

None of the mayhem should detract from a thrilling match between two of the best sides in world football.

Real went on the attack from outset as home goalkeeper Victor Valdes saved from Ronaldo in the opening minutes only for Barca to score from their first attack of the night when Messi played in Iniesta with a precise through-ball to chip the ball over Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas as he dashed from his line.

Real were level five minutes later when Ronaldo flicked the ball home from Benzema's pass into the box - his 100th goal in a Real shirt - as the game continued to be played at a spellbinding pace.

Pedro forced Casillas to make a sublime save to nudge the ball over his bar on 21 minutes before Valdes needed the help of his crossbar to stop a Ronaldo howitzer from hitting the net on 24 minutes.

The chances kept on coming as Casillas saved from Messi on 35 minutes before a delicious backheel from Gerard Pique gave Messi room in the Real box to scamper clear and lift the ball over Casillas for a second time in the half.

The second period was a more cautious affair, but both sides continued to cut their way through two tiring defences only to squander excellent chances. Casillas again saved from Messi on 66 minutes as he unleashed a shot from the edge of the box before Sergio Busquets headed wide of goal with a free header a minute later.

Sergio Ramos nodded wide on 71 minutes for Real with Barca defenders caught ball watching before a frantic scramble in the Barca box ended with French forward Benzema stabbing the ball past Valdes as we seemed destined for 30 minutes of extra-time.

Fittingly enough, it was the outstanding Messi who won it for the European champions in the dying minutes as he kept his head to thrash Adriano's cross into the net with a technically perfect volley that had the majority of a crowd of over 90,000 in the Camp Nou drooling.

The result was harsh on Real after they produced an outstanding attacking effort against Barca, but they will take consolation from their potency in the cold light of day.

There appears little to separate the two teams as they prepare to do battle for the La Liga crown and probably the Champions League.


Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account