International Sport > Athletics > MOROCCO HOST SPANISH SUPER CUP


The Spanish football season kicks off in the unlikely setting of Tangier, Morocco when on Sunday, Barcelona take on Sevilla in the Supercopa.

Unlike previous editions of the Supercopa, this season it will be a one-off match and either Barcelona or Sevilla will have their hands on the first major silverware of the new season by the end of the evening.

It has been a busy summer at both clubs, particularly Sevilla when they appointed Pablo Machin as their new coach.

He did brilliantly at Girona last term and will be aiming to guide Sevilla to better things after an underwhelming season last time around with the exception of a couple of decent runs in cup competitions.

They’ve been busy in the transfer market with major signings including Aleix Vidal who has rejoined from Barcelona and 21-year old defender Joris Gnagnon who has arrived from Rennes.

The Andalusians have also had to contend with an early start to this season and have already played and won three matches in the Europa League.

Barcelona meanwhile haven’t had the best summer in many respects given they missed out on their primary transfer target Antoine Griezmann.

They’ve instead focused on bolstering their squad with Clement Lenglet joining from Sevilla while Brazilian youngsters Arthur and Malcom have come for sizeable fees despite unproven reputations.

They’ve also added Arturo Vidal from Bayern and he could add some much needed steel in midfield following the departures of Paulinho and Andres Iniesta.

Barca are the favourites and did win 5-0 when these sides met in the Copa del Rey final at the end of last term.

However all the indicators are that this will be closer. Sevilla have a clear advantage in terms of match fitness given their early start in Europe. That may come back to haunt them later in the season but they’ve looked pretty sharp in the Europa League and have used their squad well so far.

They certainly look more assured under Machin than they did at pretty much any points under Vincenzo Montella and have reason to fancy this.

Barcelona haven’t been great in pre-season, failing to win any of their three International Champions Cup matches in 90 minutes.

They also had a host of players involved in the latter stages of the World Cup and for the bulk of their preferred first eleven, this will be their first proper run out of the new campaign.

Therefore some rustiness is virtually inevitable and they may struggle as the game wears on in hot conditions in Morocco.

Even though Barcelona won the title with ease last season, Ernesto Valverde’s side rarely totally convinced with the Copa del Rey final one of the few times when they really hit top gear and they are unlikely to hit those heights in their very first game of the new campaign, particularly when most of their main players have only just returned to training following the World Cup.
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Saturday, August 18, 2018
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