Evening all! Sports Mole's live coverage continues from Morocco as Sevilla face Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup. The traditional two-legged format has been scrapped in place of a one-off tie, and tonight will actually be the first time that the Spanish Super Cup has been played outside of Spain. Be sure to stay tuned right here for live minute-by-minute coverage of the action!
Spanish champions Barcelona thumped Sevilla 5-0 in last season's Copa del Rey final, and the Catalan outfit will be looking to claim their first trophy of the new campaign tonight. Sevilla were surprisingly poor when the two teams last locked horns, but they did come within minutes of beating Ernesto Valverde's side in the league back in January. It should be a good game tonight.
Barcelona are the most successful team in the history of the Spanish Super Cup, having won the trophy on 12 occasions. Real Madrid actually beat Barcelona 5-1 over two legs last season, but Barcelona thumped Sevilla 5-0 when they locked horns in the 2016 competition. Sevilla's last success in the Spanish Super Cup, meanwhile, came back in 2007 when they beat Real Madrid.
Messi skippers Barcelona tonight...
Right, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news from Morocco. Have both managers selected full-strength XIs for the Super Cup? Let's have a look...
SEVILLA: Vaclik; Mercado, Gomez, Kjaer, Escudero; Banega, Mesa; Navas, Sarabia, Vasquez; Muriel
BARCELONA: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, Rafinha, Arthur; Dembele, Suarez, Messi
There are three debutants in the Sevilla XI tonight, with Tomas Vaclik, Sergi Gomez and Roque Mesa all starting. Ever Banega and Jesus Navas are also in the team, while Luis Muriel will lead the line as the Colombian looks to build on his nine-goal season last term. It looks to be a 4-2-3-1 for Sevilla here.
As for Barcelona, summer signings Clement Lenglet and Arthur are both selected, while there is also a spot in the team for Rafinha, who is back from a loan spell at Inter Milan. Ousmane Dembele
and Luis Suarez join the skipper Messi in the final third, while Nelson Semedo is in at right-back. Sergi Roberto misses out for the Catalan giants through suspension, while Malcom is not involved.
Barcelona have actually only played three times since finishing last season with a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad at Camp Nou. The Spanish champions beat Tottenham Hotspur on penalties at the end of last month following a 2-2 draw, before suffering a 4-2 defeat to Roma at the start of this month.
Barcelona then suffered a 1-0 defeat to AC Milan in California last weekend. The likes of Gerard Pique
, Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele were not involved in that particular match, but Clement Lenglet, Nelson Semedo, Rafinha and Arthur did all play. The real business begins now though.
In terms of what is ahead for Barcelona, the Spanish champions will face Boca Juniors in the Joan Gamper trophy on Wednesday, before opening their La Liga title defence at home to Alaves next weekend. Valverde's side will then finish the month with their second league match away to Real Valladolid.
Sevilla, meanwhile, have been fairly busy since the end of last season. Now under the leadership of Pacho Machin, the Spanish outfit started their pre-season with a 1-1 draw against Bournemouth in the middle of last month, before beating Real Murcia and losing to Benfica in their next two fixtures.
Sevilla have also been in Europa League action this summer - overcoming Ujpest 7-1 on aggregate before beating Zalgiris 1-0 in the first leg of their third qualifying round on Thursday night. The second leg will take place in Lithuania next week, before opening their La Liga season away to Rayo Vallecano next weekend. Sevilla should be more match fit than Barcelona if nothing else!
There is also no Steven N'Zonzi in the Sevilla squad tonight. It is obvious that the midfielder - who helped France win the 2018 World Cup - wants to depart. There will be no move to the Premier League after the transfer window closed, but the likes of AC Milan have been strongly linked. N'Zonzi will surely depart before the end of the month, and that will be a huge blow for Sevilla.
Here we go then; both sets of players have joined us on the pitch ahead of kickoff in Morocco. Messi skippers Barcelona tonight, while Escudero has the armband for Sevilla. Here's to a good match.
It is quite bizarre having the Spanish Super Cup outside of Spain, but it is certainly the way forward making this clash a one-off fixture. Just a reminder that VAR will also be in action tonight. Not a fan of it myself, but football seems to be going that way. Right, kickoff will be slightly past 9pm UK time as no-one looks in much of a hurry for this one to start. Let's hope for an entertaining match.
KICKOFF: Barcelona kick things off in Morocco...
... as expected, Barcelona have early control of the ball, with Sevilla already dropping into their shape. Muriel will be joined in the final third by Vazquez, with Sarabia dropping a touch deeper.
Not too much to report in the first four minutes, but Barcelona have had pretty much all of the ball. It is going to be difficult for Sevilla tonight as they will be without the possession for long stages.
Alba breaks into a wide position for Barcelona before delivering low into the Sevilla box, but eventually the offside flag is raised. Just a reminder that VAR is in action in Morocco tonight.
Sarabia is a touch fortunate to avoid a yellow card for hacking Luis Suarez to the deck. Barcelona have the chance to threaten with a free kick in a wide position, but Sevilla clear their lines.
DISALLOWED GOAL! Sevilla look to take the lead as Sarabia sweeps home, but there will be a VAR check I think!
GOAL! SEVILLA 1-0 BARCELONA (SARABIA)
The goal is given following the VAR check! Sarabia was onside when Muriel found him, and the number 17 has sent his team ahead with a super finish into the bottom corner of the net.
Barcelona want a penalty as Kjaer looks to handle inside the Sevilla box, but the referee is not interested. Sevilla then break down the other end and strike wide of the post through Vazquez.
Barcelona have had most of the ball since the first goal went in, with Dembele getting plenty of space in the final third of the field. That said, Sevilla are looking very dangerous on the break.
SAVE! Smart stop from Vaclik to keep out a powerful strike from Messi!
YELLOW CARD! Busquets (Barcelona) is booked for a trip on Muriel.
SAVE! More good goalkeeping from Vaclik as Sevilla's new goalkeeper keeps out a strike from Alba. Barcelona are very much on the front foot at the moment as they look for a leveller.
It must be said that the first 20 minutes of this football match have flown past. Sevilla lead, but Barcelona are having all of the ball. You do get the feeling that Sevilla will need to score again if they are to triumph. Indeed, Messi & Co. are surely going to click at some point in this Super Cup.
Sarabia's goal is the difference between the two teams with 22 minutes played...
SHOT! Suarez breaks the offside trap before striking towards goal, but it was comfortable for the Sevilla goalkeeper, who has impressed in the first 24 minutes of this Spanish Super Cup.
YELLOW CARD! Vazquez (Sevilla) is booked for a foul on Rafinha.
Suarez has been a little bit rusty in the first 26 minutes of this match, but he can be forgiven this early in the season. Barcelona continue to pass and probe in Sevilla's half of the field here.
CHANCE! Huge chance for Barcelona to level as Lenglet meets a free kick from Messi, but his header drops over the crossbar! Almost a debut goal for the French centre-back there!
Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining, and Sevilla still lead, which is very much a surprise. Barcelona are finding a lot of space in forward areas, however, and surely they will find that little pass at some point. Messi has been bright without showing his best form thus far tonight.
Almost a half-chance for Sevilla as Navas breaks down the right before looking to pick out the head of Muriel, but the cross always had too much weight. Good stuff from Sevilla once again there.
Dembele continues to cause problems as the Frenchman breaks into a wide position before delivering, but Mercado is on hand to make the clearance. Still 1-0 Sevilla with 34 minutes played.
Muriel's movement has caused Barcelona a lot of problems in the first period...
Bit of a scramble inside the Sevilla box as Rafinha and Alba both deliver dangerous crosses, but Sevilla manage to clear their lines following a bit of panic. Can Machin's side hold on here?
CHANCE! Super chance for Suarez, but the forward fires wide of the far post!
Barcelona will certainly feel that they have done enough to deserve to be level at this stage of the match, but Sevilla have defended well for long spells, and their goalkeeper has been pretty good.
Just a reminder that the new La Liga season starts next weekend, and Barcelona will open their title defence at home to Alaves. Sevilla, meanwhile, start away to Rayo Vallecano, which should be a super match. More possession for Barcelona in Sevilla's half of the field as we approach the break.
Barcelona have a free kick in a dangerous area as Banega brings Arthur to the deck...
GOAL! ... SEVILLA 1-1 BARCELONA (PIQUE)
Barcelona level the scores late in the first period as Pique converts from close range after Messi's free kick had struck the post! The ball came back off the Sevilla goalkeeper onto the post, and Pique was on hand to slide the ball into the back of the net. Big moment to level the scores.
SAVE! Wonderful save from Ter Stegen to keep out a close-range Sarabia effort!
SHOT! Messi has one deflected wide of the post following a quick passing move.
HALF TIME: SEVILLA 1-1 BARCELONA
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 1-1. Sevilla took the lead in the ninth minute when Sarabia expertly found the bottom corner with a super finish, but Barcelona levelled late in the first period through Pique, who made the most of a Messi free kick which had struck the post. It has been a very entertaining first 45 minutes of football here.
STATISTICS! Barcelona utterly dominated the first-half possession with 74%, while they had nine attempts - three of which were on target. Sevilla, meanwhile, hit the target with two of their five attempts. Barcelona also had 399 passes to Sevilla's 138, which is certainly a telling statistic.
BENCH WATCH! Sevilla boss Machin has a lot of attacking players on his bench tonight, with the likes of Ben Yedder, Nolito, Andre Silva and Vidal all capable of making a difference. Barcelona, meanwhile, have options in the shape of Coutinho, Munir and Rakitic. Plenty of talent in reserve!
KICKOFF: Sevilla resume the action in Morocco...
... BARCELONA SUB! Rakitic has replaced Rafinha at the interval.
Just a reminder that a certain Arturo Vidal is on the bench for Barcelona tonight, and the Chilean will hope to see some football in the second period. Not too much to report in the early stages of the second half as Barcelona pass and probe in Sevilla's half of the field. The next goal is huge here.
Barcelona need a little bit more from Dembele at the moment, with the Frenchman just struggling to get into the match. It is a huge season for Dembele at Barcelona, there is no doubt about that.
Pass, pass, pass from Barcelona as they continue to work the ball into forward positions. Suarez's touch, however, has been disappointing for the Catalan side tonight. He will probably score now.
A mix-up between Pique and Ter Stegen causes concern inside the Barcelona box, but Sevilla cannot make the most of the station. Barcelona are preparing to make a second change here.
BARCELONA SUB! Coutinho replaces Arthur for Barcelona.
Sevilla have not had a great deal of the ball tonight, but they have used it well in the final third, with Navas impressing in that right wing-back role. Still 1-1 with 56 minutes on the clock in Morocco.
Sevilla are preparing to make their first change, and it will be a debut for Andre Silva following his arrival from AC Milan. What a debut it would be if the striker could find a second for Sevilla.
Suarez goes down inside the Sevilla box, but the referee is not interested.
SEVILLA SUB! Andre Silva is on for his Sevilla debut in place of Muriel.
SAVE! Vaclik does well to punch clear a free kick from Messi!
OFF THE BAR! Big moment! Vazquez meets a corner from Banega, and his header just flicks off the top of the crossbar. Real let-off for Barcelona as Sevilla come close to a second goal.
CHANCE! Big chance for Dembele after being released by Messi, but the Frenchman fires straight at the Sevilla goalkeeper, who stands still to make the save. Another big moment.
Little over 25 minutes of the second period remaining, and you do get the feeling that there is going to be a winner in normal time. Sevilla are a threat on the counter-attack despite their lack of ball.
Suarez has been very sloppy for Barcelona tonight, but it would be just like the Uruguay international to come up with the winner for his team. Sevilla's bench is moving once again.
CLOSE! Vazquez just misses the Barcelona goal with a strike from a central position!
YELLOW CARD! Mesa (Sevilla) is booked for a foul on Dembele.
SEVILLA SUB! Aleix Vidal replaces Sarabia for Sevilla. Vidal comes against the club that he left earlier this summer. It would be some story if he came up with the winner in this one.
Little over 15 minutes of normal time remaining in the Spanish Super Cup, with Sevilla and Barcelona level at 1-1. Is there going to be a winner, or will extra-time be needed? Stay tuned to find out.
Pique cancelled out Sarabia's early goal to leave the scores level here...
Little over 10 minutes of the second period remaining, and not too much is happening at the moment. Barcelona are having most of the ball without threatening to score a second.
SAVE! Comfortable save from Ter Stegen to keep out a strike from Navas.
SAVE! Oh my word! Wonderful save from Vaclik to keep out a close-range Messi strike!
GOAL! SEVILLA 1-2 BARCELONA (DEMBELE)
Oh my word! Wonderful! Barcelona take the lead in the 78th minute as Dembele absolutely thumps one into the top corner from outside the box. Stunning hit from the France international!
It is going to be tough for Sevilla to come up with a second goal late on here.
Rakitic drives into the Sevilla box, but the Croatian just loses his balance at the vital moment, and Vaclik can claim before releasing the ball down the field. Still around 10 minutes to play here.
SEVILLA SUB! Ben Yedder replaces Mercado for Sevilla.
BARCELONA SUB! Arturo Vidal replaces Dembele for Barcelona.
Barcelona have the ball in Sevilla's half as we approach the full-time whistle here.
PENALTY! Sevilla have a penalty as Ter Stegen brings Vidal to the deck!
SAVE! Incredible! Ter Stegen dives down to keep out Ben Yedder's penalty!
What a chance for Sevilla! It was a terrible spot kick from Ben Yedder it must be said!
Time is running out for Sevilla as Barcelona close on another title in this competition.
YELLOW CARD! Aleix Vidal (Sevilla) is booked for a rash tackle on Coutinho.
FULL TIME: SEVILLA 1-2 BARCELONA
So there we have it. Barcelona win the 2018 Spanish Super Cup courtesy of a 2-1 win over Sevilla in Morocco. Ben Yedder missed a penalty at the death which would have forced extra-time, and Barcelona have the first major trophy of the new Spanish season. Thanks for joining us once again!