Wantaway forward Pedro proved the hero as his extra-time goal secured the UEFA Super Cup for Barcelona with an enthralling 5-4 victory over Sevilla in Tblisi.
It was confirmed by sporting director Robert Fernandez earlier on Tuesday that Pedro, who has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, has told Barca that he wants to leave.
And in what could be his final appearance for the club, the Spain international came off the bench and turned home the rebound from Lionel Messi’s shot in the 115th-minute to seal a dramatic win after Barca had surrendered a 4-1 lead.
A pair of sensational Messi free-kicks in the first half cancelled out a similarly superb effort from Ever Banega to put Barca 2-1 up, before Rafinha added a third on the stroke of half-time.
Treble winners Barca were in cruise control when Luis Suarez got on the scoresheet in the 52nd minute, but they were left reeling as Jose Antonio Reyes’ strike and Kevin Gameiro’s penalty brought Sevilla back into it, before Ciro Immobile set up fellow close-season signing Yevhen Konoplyanka for a scarcely believable equaliser.
Unai Emery’s Sevilla were cruelly denied, though, as Pedro earned Barca the first of what could be six trophies this season.
Underdogs Sevilla made a great start when Banega curled a superb 25-yard free-kick into the top left-hand corner in the third minute.
Messi would not be outshone by his Argentina team-mate, though, and he levelled with a free-kick of his own – a wonderful dinked effort that left Beto no chance.
The fast pace continued in the 15th minute as Messi outdid himself with another stunning free-kick, this time bending a 30-yard effort from the centre of goal into Beto’s right-hand corner.
Suarez had a goal ruled out for offside, but the lead was two at the break as the Uruguayan squared brilliantly for Rafinha to stab home.
Barca extended their lead seven minutes after the break. Benoit Tremoulinas’ sloppy pass was picked off by Sergio Busquets and he in turn rolled a pass to Suarez, who swept home a first-time shot.
But Sevilla started an unlikely comeback in the 57th minute when Reyes side-footed home Vitolo’s cross from the left.
Rafinha saw a header rebound off the crossbar for Barca, before there was another twist when Jeremy Mathieu tugged Vitolo to ground prompting referee Willie Collum to point to the spot.
Gameiro confidently dispatched the spot-kick low into the left-hand corner, and amazingly Sevilla were level in the 81st minute when Immobile’s low centre from the right was tapped home by fellow new boy Konoplyanka.
That brought extra-time and the match was seemingly heading for penalties until drama unfolded five minutes from time.
Messi saw another goalbound free-kick blocked by the wall, before his driven shot from the rebound was saved by Beto. However, substitute Pedro reacted quickest to force home the follow-up.
The game almost had one last twist in injury time as Immobile crossed for Adil Rami but, with the goal gaping the ball cannoned off the France defender’s knee and went agonisingly wide of the left post.
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