Lionel Messi mentioned Barcelona have been responsible of taking part in like youngsters on Thursday after Atletico Madrid staged an exciting comeback to beat them 3-2 and arrange a Spanish Super Cup last in opposition to Real Madrid.
Barca regarded on track for a Sunday showdown in opposition to Real after they led 2-1 with 9 minutes left however as a substitute, it is going to be a Madrid derby in Saudi Arabia to determine who lifts the trophy.
“It’s a shame because we switched off for a few moments and made children’s mistakes,” Messi mentioned. “We should have closed out the match.
“It’s a blow for us, especially as we were the better team. Our mistakes cost us dearly.”
All 5 targets have been scored throughout a wild second half in Jeddah that started with Koke placing Atletico in entrance, simply 21 seconds after approaching instead on the interval.
Goals from Messi and Antoine Griezmann turned the sport on its head, just for Atletico to hit again with a late double, Alvaro Morata changing a penalty within the 81st minute earlier than Angel Correa discovered a winner within the 86th.
In between, Barcelona additionally had two targets dominated out after VAR noticed tight offsides whereas Atleti have been denied what regarded a transparent penalty at 2-2, after the ball clipped the hand of Gerard Pique.
“They had more legs than us and in the end it cost us,” mentioned Griezmann.
“We made mistakes in everything, in passes – I think I missed a pass to Sam (Umtiti) before they scored – and the little things can lose you a match, a league, a Champions League.”
A pulsating contest may have delighted the Spanish Football Federation, who’ve confronted heavy criticism for taking the competitors away from Spain to a unique continent, and a rustic that has a long-condemned document on human rights.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde mentioned on Wednesday he most popular the previous format however his sturdy group choice, that included Messi, Griezmann and Luis Suarez, advised this was a match he was desirous to win.
“The goal for 2-2 came at a time when we didn’t know how to get a hold of the game,” mentioned Valverde, whose place will come underneath renewed scrutiny.
“There is always instability when you lose,” he added.
It stays to be seen how this defeat would possibly have an effect on the La Liga title race, with Real Madrid and Atletico now having fun with the chance not solely to assert a trophy however rating a psychological increase too.
“It is important for the club, we beat the best-attacking team in the world,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone mentioned. “You saw our bite, our belief, our desire. It’s what this club is all about.”
Atletico survived a frantic first half and frustration spilled over on the break as Jordi Alba poked a finger within the face of Joao Felix, who then went head-to-head with Messi. Suarez additionally needed to be pulled away by Stefan Savic.
A spikey finish to the primary interval was trumped by an explosive begin to the second as Koke, on for lower than a minute, gave Atletico the lead by stabbing into the underside nook.
Simeone selected to not have a good time and if he was frightened concerning the period of time left, he was proper, as Barcelona scored twice in 11 minutes.
First, Messi equalised after muscling his approach by means of Koke and Savic on the sting of the realm after which he fired in once more after steering a excessive ball round Koke. This time, nevertheless, VAR confirmed his elbow had served as a cushion.
The disappointment was transient as Alba crossed for Suarez and whereas his header was good pawed away by Jan Oblak, Griezmann nodded within the rebound.
Pique thought he had a 3rd after Arturo Vidal half-volleyed Messi’s free-kick throughout the field however once more VAR intervened.
Atletico got here once more. Correa ought to have pulled them degree however appeared keener to seek out Felix than shoot himself and when the rebound did fall to the Felix, Sergi Roberto made a last-ditch block.
But the floodgates had opened within the Barca defence. Vitolo was subsequent to go clear and this time he was introduced down by Neto. Morata transformed the penalty.
Then, Morata skipped free down the proper and his cross struck the dangling hand of Pique however regardless of damning replays, the referee determined in opposition to giving one other spot-kick.
Yet moments later, Atletico have been in once more. Correa this time sprinted in behind and whereas Neto made a block, the ball had simply sufficient energy to cross the road. Now, Simeone may have a good time.