Luis Suarez was back in the goal-scoring routine as Barcelona claimed a Spanish Supercup advantage with a 2-0 victory away to Sevilla. The game had been put back 24 hours to allow Sevilla extra time to recover from the effects of their 3-2 UEFA Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid in Norway last Tuesday.
Suarez, who scored 59 goals for Barca last season, opened his account for the new campaign early in the second half and substitute Munir added a second nine minutes from time.
The breakthrough came when substitute Denis Suarez picked out the run of Arda Turan with a delightful flighted pass and a controlled chest down allowed the Uruguayan striker to pick his spot from 12 yards.
So Barca are firmly in the driving seat ahead of Wednesday’s second leg at the Nou Camp, victory easing the painful memories of the 5-1 aggregate defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Supercup 12 months ago.
Sevilla began the brightest, showing the same fearlessness they exhibited against Madrid, and they twice came close through Vitolo, who got to the byline on both occasions but saw first effort go straight at Bravo, while his second was a low cross that had to be cleared off the line by a Barca jersey.
The Andalusians were further ahead than their opponents in terms of preparation for the new season, and it showed as they even matched La Blaugrana for possession before half-time. Suarez looked to change that when he pickpocketed a rival near the hosts’ box, but his layoff to Messi and then Sergio Busquets resulted in the midfielder blazing his shot over.
As the second half began, Barca started immediately on the front foot as Suarez glanced Digne’s pinpoint delivery on target, although Rico popped it out of the air. Still, he was to break the deadlock – beautiful linkup between Arda and Denis down the left followed by the Turk chesting the ball down for the Uruguayan to fire home, low and hard.
Messi then came a whisker away from making it 2-0 to Barca as his delightful one-two with Suarez saw him venture into the Sevilla penalty area unopposed, only for his lobbed finish to be parried away.
Sampaoli’s men continued to have plenty of possession, but their movement of the ball became very sluggish, while their lack of a goal threat made them impotent. Their best hope of an equaliser was off the shin of Sergi Roberto, who was forced pray to the skies as a ricochet flew inches wide of Bravo’s far post.
Consequently, you’d have been forgiven for thinking it was Suarez’s who scored Barca’s second as substitute Munir pulled across to latch onto a through ball, before poking it assuredly past Rico.