Lionel Messi started the new season in typically brilliant fashion, curling in two brilliant free-kicks to overturn an early deficit and put Barcelona in front against Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup after 15 minutes. Barcelona had fallen behind to a third-minute free-kick scored by Ever Banega when, less than five minutes earlier, Messi leveled with an almost identical effort at the other end.
In the Georgia capital of Tbilisi, Messi stepped up just outside the box and used his wand of a left foot to find the very corner of the net, beyond the despairing reach of Sevilla goalkeeper Beto. And nine minutes later he turned the game on its head with an even more spectacular effort. From further out this time, the Argentina star somehow whipped the ball over the wall and into the same corner where the unfortunate Beto had just been beaten.
The goals kept Barcelona on course to win the meeting of last year’s Champions League and Europa League winners and maintain their hopes of taking a clean sweep of trophies in 2015.
After taking home a treble of Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey last season, the Catalans are attempting to land both European and Spanish Super Cups in the next two weeks before attempting to win the Club World Cup at the end of the year. Should they do so they would match the achievements of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona team in 2009.
Barcelona started with a strong lineup in their first official match of the new campaign, although their famed forward trio was disrupted by Brazilian Neymar being ruled out with mumps.