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Barca draw first blood

Season’s first clash between Spanish giants sees five goals in the second half.
None | By The Guardian, Barcelona
UPDATED ON AUG 25, 2012 12:44 AM IST

Barcelona defeated Real Madrid at Camp Nou and the best thing that happened to José Mourinho's team was the score. Andrés Iniesta had just delivered another wonderful pass when Angel Di María scored the goal that changes this final entirely.

The roar at the final whistle disguised Catalan frustration. The Spanish Super Cup should have been virtually theirs. It is not.

Two away goals change everything: a 1-0 win in the second leg in six days' time would be enough for Real.

The game was 85 minutes old when Iniesta slotted a cleverly angled ball to Lionel Messi well inside the penalty area. One on one with Iker Casillas, Messi was unable to take the chance. Gerard Piqué, following up, could not either. Had he scored, it would have been Barcelona 4-1 Real Madrid.

Few would have questioned its validity, either. But in the blink of an eye, it was 3-2. Victor Valdés collected a simple back pass and saw Di María running at him. He tried to dribble past the Argentinian. Instead, he lost control, lost his balance and lost the ball. Barcelona lost a huge advantage.

They had dominated, even if it did take a Cristiano Ronaldo header to finally bring goals to a fascinating game and to give Barcelona the incisiveness that their precision had previously lacked.

For so much of this match, the ball zipped around the pitch at great speed, from Barcelona player to Barcelona player and back again.

Iniesta was in the heart of the midfield and at times his footwork was barely believable, a master puppeteer.

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