Barcelona beats Real Sociedad to reach the Spanish Super Cup final
Barcelona advanced to the Spanish Super Cup final after defeating Real Sociedad 3-2 in a penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw after extra time
Marc-Andre ter Stegen made two crucial saves in extra time and then stopped two penalties in the shootout Wednesday to ensure Barcelona’s victory, without the injured Lionel Messi.
Ter Stegen blocked penalties by Jon Bautista and Mikel Oyarzabal in the shootout before Barcelona substitute Riqui Puig converted the winning spot kick after the game had ended 1-1.
The German goalkeeper also made two superb saves in the final minutes of extra time, stretching to stop two goal-bound strikes by substitute Adnan Januzaj.
“This is what I am always looking for, to play at 100 percent,Ter Stegen said. “I am very happy and proud of the team for the huge effort we made, and I think we deserved the victory.”
Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann missed their penalties for Barcelona, which had started strong thanks to Ter Stegen's initial saves in the shootout, before Puig clinched the win with his decisive effort. Ousmane Dembele and Miralem Pjanic also converted theirs for the Catalan club.
De Jong put Barcelona ahead with a skillful header in the 39th minute of a highly entertaining contest between two of the most attractive and talented attacks in Spain.
Puig, who has struggled to get playing time since the arrival of Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman last summer, went on at the start of extra time.
When the team huddled before the shootout, the 21-year-old Puig raised his hand when Koeman asked who wanted to take the fifth and final kick.
The win comes with Barcelona on the rise in the Spanish league after a difficult transition following the arrival of Koeman and the club's overhaul of its squad.
Barcelona will face the winner of the other semifinal between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao to be played in Granada on Thursday.