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Gerard Pique and Barcelona struggle vs. Athletic in Spanish Super Cup loss

50Athletic Bilbao won the Spanish Supercopa after beating Barcelona by an aggregate score of 5-1 and containing the Catalans to a 1-1 draw in the second leg at the Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi scored the only goal for the Blaugrana, who enjoyed 69 percent of possession, created 17 goalscoring chances and attempted 10 shots, with four on target and one that hit the crossbar.
Following a 4-0 debacle at the San Mames in the first leg, Luis Enrique’s men looked desperate to get a breakthrough from the initial whistle.
Their emphasis on scoring early played against them, with key men such as Pedro and Luis Suarez unusually wasteful in front of goal.
Behind them, the midfielders were guilty of overplaying and not testing Athletic’s goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz from long-range positions.
Athletic, who only conceded 21 away goals in La Liga the past season, frustrated the hosts with their excellent defensive formation.
Although the visitors spent the majority of their time behind the ball while trying to cover the heart of their defence, they became increasingly dangerous, thanks to lightning-fast counterattacking transitions that had their striker Aritz Aduriz as an isolated attacking reference.
Despite the support of 89,000 die-hard Catalan supporters, the Camp Nou giants failed to overcome the 4-0 deficit and therefore waived goodbye to their dream of equaling Pep Guardiola’s sextuple-winning 2009 season.
Kudos to Athletic for digging deep, tightening up defensively and stepping up a gear when needed to secure their first trophy since 1984!
Let’s hope Barcelona can analyze and correct the mistakes committed on this performance.
Failure to do so would only result in yet another negative result against Athletic when the two sides meet for the third time in two weeks Sunday in the La Liga opener.