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Barça beats Betis to set up Super Cup final against Madrid

Marc-André ter Stegen saved two penalties and Pedri converted the deciding spot kick as Barcelona defeated Real Betis 4-2 in a shootout Thursday to set up a Spanish Super Cup final against rival Real Madrid this weekend in Saudi Arabia.

Madrid defeated Valencia on penalties in the other semifinal on Wednesday, when Thibaut Courtois made the decisive save, AP reports.

“Ter Stegen makes the difference,” Barcelona coach Xavi said. “He makes the two saves and sends us to the final.”

The decisive match will be on Sunday at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh.

Barcelona converted all four of its penalties in the shootout and Ter Stegen stopped the efforts by Juanmi and Willian Carvalho to give the Catalan club the victory.

“The match was super difficult, Betis made it tough for us,” Ter Stegen said. “In the end it’s about making it to finals, and we’ve made it. You also need some luck in the shootout, and this time it was on our side.”

The teams drew 1-1 in regulation after Robert Lewandowski scored for Barcelona in the first half and Nabil Fekir equalized for Betis near the end. The score was 2-2 after extra time as Ansu Fati gave Barcelona an early lead and Loren Morón equalized again for Betis.

In the shootout, Fati, Lewandowski and Franck Kessie also scored for Barcelona. Morón and Willian José converted for Betis.

It will be the first time Spanish powerhouses Barcelona and Madrid meet in the Super Cup final since the competition was revamped and taken to Saudi Arabia in 2020.

“It will be a beautiful match,” Ter Stegen said. “Everyone here wants to see a match like this and I’m thrilled to be able to play in it and to try to win it.”

Madrid will try to equal Barcelona with 13 Spanish Super Cup trophies, the most among all clubs. Barcelona will be trying to win its first Super Cup trophy since 2018.

Manuel Pellegrini’s Betis was trying to reach its first Super Cup final since 2005, when it lost to Barcelona.

“We are disappointed, the team played a great match,” Pellegrini said. “We felt like we deserved to win in regulation but it wasn’t possible, and then Ter Stegen made some good saves.”

The Super Cup used to be played only between the Spanish league champion and the Copa del Rey winner, but now the runners-up in both competitions also participate in Final Four tournament that was taken to Saudi Arabia in a lucrative deal for the Spanish soccer federation.

Madrid defeated Barcelona 3-1 at home in the first “clásico” of the season at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in October.

Lewandowski scored his first goal since the World Cup after a pass from Ousmane Dembélé in the 40th minute. He scored in Poland’s 3-1 loss to France in December in the round of 16 in Qatar, but hadn’t found the net for Barcelona since a 1-0 win at Valencia in the Spanish league in October.

Betis equalized in the 77th when Fekir sent a low shot past Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen.

Lewandowski thought he had scored his second — and a possible winner late in regulation — but the goal was disallowed for offside in the buildup.

Fati scored early in extra time with a volley from just inside the area, and Morón evened the match about 10 minutes later with a backheel touch from close range.

Betis played the final minutes of extra time with 10 men as Andrés Guardado was sent off with a second yellow card for a hard foul.