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Match Analysis: Barcelona 1-1 (1-5) Athletic Bilbao

Sports Mole dissects the action as Athletic Bilbao win the Spanish Super Cup with a 1-1 draw at Barcelona.

Athletic Bilbao won the Spanish Super Cup for the first time since 1984 following a 1-1 draw against Barcelona in the second leg of the 2015 competition on Monday.

Bilbao entered the clash holding a 4-0 lead from the first leg, but Lionel Messi's strike on the stroke of the interval handed Barcelona hope of a comeback.

The home side's challenge suffered early in the second half, however, when Gerard Pique was given his marching orders.

Aritz Aduriz levelled the scores on the night in the 74th minute for a Bilbao side that also finished with 10 men following a late red card for Kike Sola.

Here, Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action between the two teams.

Match statistics

Shots: 15
On target: 4
Possession: 71%
Corners: 9
Fouls: 5

Shots: 7
On target: 4
Possession: 29%
Corners: 3
Fouls: 14

Was the result fair?

There is absolutely no question that Bilbao deserved to lift the Spanish Super Cup at the Camp Nou. Following their stunning 4-0 win in the first leg last week, the Basque outfit could afford to sit deep and frustrate Barcelona, who were far from their best over the 180 minutes of football. Taking this particular match on its own, a draw on the night can also be considered as a fair result. As demonstrated in the statistics above, Barcelona absolutely dominated the possession, but despite having 17 attempts, they only managed four on target, which was the same number as Bilbao.

The fact that Barcelona did not manage an attempt on target until the 44th minute, which brought their first goal, is another indication of their struggles in the final third, while Bilbao were more than prepared to commit players forward when the opportunity arrived. In truth, the trophy was won in the first leg, with Barcelona simply leaving themselves with too much to do in the return match. Had the Catalan outfit found a couple of early goals then it might well have been a different story, but denying Bilbao the trophy would have been unjust. It was a special night for Ernesto Valverde and his team.

Barca's performance

As expected, Luis Enrique rung the changes from the first leg and recalled all of his first-choice players. Indeed, with the exception of the injured Neymar and Jordi Alba, it was the strongest XI that could have been selected. The hosts should have been ahead in the sixth minute when Pedro and Pique had chances, but the latter had a close-range effort deflected over the crossbar, before Pique rattled the woodwork. The pressure continued to build throughout the first period, but as mentioned, their first goal came from their first attempt on target, with Luis Suarez setting up Messi. Barcelona would have been confident of finding another goal early in the second period, but they were reduced to 10 men in the 56th minute when Pique was dismissed for lambasting the linesman for not raising his flag when Aduriz found space inside the box.

In truth, that is where Barcelona's challenge ended. Ivan Rakitic came close to making it 2-0 on the night just before the hour, but that was a rare clear-cut opportunity as Bilbao continued to defend their lines. Sandro Ramirez and Munir El-Haddadi were both thrown on for the final 20 minutes, but it was Bilbao that scored the game's next goal, with Aduriz finishing at the second time of asking having initially been denied by Claudio Bravo. The latter stages did appear to be passing without major incident, but Bilbao were also reduced to 10 men late on when Sola was given his marching orders for a poor challenge on Javier Mascherano. Enrique's team simply did not do enough on the night to deserve to turn the tie around and there were more defensive problems on display. At the weekend, Barcelona will travel to Bilbao in their league opener and it could be another uncomfortable 90 minutes for the Catalan side, who need to find their form quickly.

Bilbao's performance

Having recorded a 4-0 victory in the first leg last week, Bilbao boss Valverde had the luxury of selecting a team that were set up to contain Barcelona. That was indeed the case as Carlos Gurpegi and Eneko Boveda - two defensive players - were selected in addition to the usual back four and goalkeeper. Aymeric Laporte in particular had an outstanding game at the back, but the midfield protection was also impressive, with Benat and Gurpegi never far from their own box. While it was a team set up to defend, the presence of Javier Eraso and Markel Susaeta provided adequate support to Aduriz, who once again caused a number of problems. Bilbao goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz also did not have much to do in the first period, aside from pick the ball out of his own net when Messi cut the deficit to 4-1 late in the half. Defensively, Bilbao were just outstanding once again as Barcelona resorted to delivering high balls, which proved straightforward to clear.

Bilbao's place in the tie got stronger when Pique was dismissed and when Aduriz latched on to an Oscar de Marcos header in the 74th minute, he made sure of the victory by finding the back of the net. It would have been a disappointment to lose Sola to a red card late on, but it took nothing away from what was another impressive performance from the Basque side. The fact that Bilbao were prepared to attack as well as defend took the pressure off their back four, while Aduriz's ability to hold the ball in the final third once again proved key. Many teams have tried and failed to play that way at the Camp Nou, but everything about Bilbao's performance on Monday was spot on. Valverde out-thought Enrique over the two legs.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Aritz Aduriz: A hat-trick in the first leg last week placed Bilbao in such a commanding position, but the Spaniard was just as impressive at the Camp Nou. The striker terrorised the Barcelona back four for long spells and got his goal late on at the second time of asking. He was perhaps a shade fortunate to stay on the field in the second period when he dived into Bravo while on a yellow, but the forward was a key part of Bilbao's success once again.

Biggest gaffe

Barcelona were poor again defensively, but Pique's conduct early in the second period was really poor. The centre-back was actually sent off for his reaction to the lack of an offside flag from the linesman and the way that he approached the official and the aggressiveness he demonstrated was really disappointing. Barcelona's challenge just was not the same when the Spanish international was sent from the field.

Referee performance

Referee Carlos Velasco, as expected, had a busy night - issuing five yellow cards and two reds. There were a couple of occasions when the game threatened to boil over, but the Spaniard did manage to calm proceedings on a number of occasions. The red for Pique is a matter of opinion, while the red for Sola was also perhaps a little bit harsh when taking the game into context. Barcelona will also point to some rough treatment that went unpunished during the 90 minutes.

What next?

Barca: Enrique's side will travel to Bilbao for their La Liga opener this weekend.

Bilbao: Having beaten Barca 4-0 at home in the first leg last week, the Basque outfit will be confident of recording another victory when the pair meet on Sunday.

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Athletic Bilbao's defender Mikel San Jose is congratulated by teammates midfielder Benat Etxebarria (L), midfielder Oscar de Marcos (3rd L) and defender Xabier Etxeita (R) after scoring during the Spanish Supercup first-leg football match Athletic Club Bi
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