After a scoreless regulation and overtime period in Thursday’s Spanish Super Cup semifinal in Saudi Arabia, Barcelona prevailed against Betis 4-2 on penalties thanks to the heroics of goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who stopped penalty kicks by Juanmi and William Carvalho.
After Real Madrid’s shootout victory against Valencia on Wednesday, Barca has set up a dream showdown between the two teams for this coming Sunday.
The 30-year-old goalkeeper was Barcelona’s hero after making a string of spectacular saves in regulation and overtime and then thwarting Juanmi and Carvalho in the shootout.
“It was a wonderful match, one of those the fans show up to watch,” Ter Stegen remarked after the game. I’m really pleased with my accomplishments. Since this time last year, I feel like everything in my life and career has been going swimmingly.
After halftime, they really took control of the game and made things tough for us. They were far better than us in the middle third of the field, where the match was being decided, and we had to work very hard to proceed.
Though they got off to a strong start, Barcelona began to fall behind Betis after Pedri’s goal in the 23rd minute was disallowed due to offsides in the buildup.
Ousmane Dembele made a superb solo run forward and found Robert Lewandowski, who scored the game’s first goal by beating goalkeeper Claudio Bravo from close range after Ter Stegen made two outstanding reflex saves on bullet-like strikes from Luiz Henrique and Rodri.
Betis fought back in the second half, pressuring Barcelona in the front, and in the 77th minute, Nabil Fekir scored after being set up by Luiz Henrique with a low effort that went just inside the far post.
Three minutes later, Lewandowski thought he had put Barca back in the lead with a strike, but VAR again disallowed the goal for an offside in the buildup, and the game went into overtime.
Barça went back on top thanks to Ansu Fati, who capped off a breathtaking counterattack from inside the area, but Betis battled back and tied the game thanks to another fine effort from Luiz Henrique, whose cross was brilliantly finished by substitute Loren Moron with a heel-kick from just inside the six-yard box.
In the shootout, Barcelona did not make a single mistake, while Betis was forced to lament the failures of Juanmi and Carvalho.