Barcelona 0-0 Espanyol (4-2 pens): Cillessen the hero in Supercopa de Catalunya win

Barcelona 0-0 Espanyol (4-2 pens): Cillessen the hero in Supercopa de Catalunya win

March 8, 2018 Off By James Lassey

Barcelona lifted the Supercopa de Catalunya for a second time on Wednesday after reserve goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen proved the difference in the 4-2 penalty shootout win at the Camp d’Esports de Lleida in Lleida.

A Penalty miss from the usually reliant Sergi Darder and a Cillessen save on Jurado’s tame effort  led Barcelona to their first taste of silverware this season.

Despite the win, Blaugrana head coach Ernesto Valverde may have concerns with its manner and the injuries it has dealt.

In order to cater for the demands their schedule has sprung upon them, Valverde made wholesale changes to prevent any risk of injury or tiredness to key players.

However, images of Denis Suarez limping off to be replaced by Cristian Riviera just before the break and with the second leg of the Champions League last 16 tie against Chelsea around the corner, his withdrawal will only add to the Spaniard’s problems .

Paco Alcacer had the match’s first opportunity but his close ranged effort flew over the bar and to Espanyol’s credit they kept their opposition’s first-half chances down to a minimum.

Cillessen who is yet to make a La Liga appearance this season, got his man-of-the-match performance off to a terrific start after he produced a fine save to prevent Pablo Piatti.

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While Barcelona dictated possession they failed to make any real impression. Long ranged efforts from Denis Suarez and Alcacer never posed Pau Lopez any threats and the first-half lumbered to its close.

The second-half offered similar viewing although Cillessen did well to reach both Marc Roca and Alex Lopez’s long ranged efforts out. First with glove and then with an acrobatic block to his right moments later.

With the clash getting away from them Valverde opted for a reshuffle both Osumane Dembele and Andre Gomes were withdrawn following lacklustre displays and the opportunity to grab that confidence-boosting goal never came.

Still not impressed, Valverde made some more changes one of which included the introduction of 19-year-old Englishman Marcus McGuane.

The former Arsenal midfielder became the first Englishman to play for Barcelona’s men senior team since Gary Lineker.

His side can now take their attention to their trip away to Malaga in La Liga before hosting Chelsea in a week’s time.

For Espanyol they invite Real Sociedad for La Liga clash on Saturday as they look to close the gap between them and the top half of the table.