Barcelona win Spanish Super Cup

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Champions: Barcelona celebrate.

Barcelona swept to early-season silverware as a 3-0 Nou Camp victory over Sevilla secured the Spanish Super Cup title for Luis Enrique’s team.

The hosts were ruthless in the second leg of the curtain-raising clash of last year’s double winners and the Copa del Rey runners-up.

Arda Turan fired Barcelona into a 10th-minute lead and doubled his haul in the early moments of the second half, before Lionel Messi headed a third as Barcelona sealed a 5-0 aggregate win.

Messi, typically, made Barcelona tick throughout and proudly lifted the trophy.

It was his prompting that cued up Arda for the opening goal, the newly blond Argentinian exchanging passes with new recruit Andre Gomes before feeding in the telling pass.

Arda, on the shoulder of his marker, pulled away and drove a left-footed shot across goal and into the right corner.

Sevilla had posed an early threat before the breakthrough strike, with Claudio Bravo saving from Wissam Ben Yedder.

But trailing 2-0 from the first leg, Jorge Sampaoli’s players needed to take their chances.

Barcelona had the comfort of being able to spurn chances, such as when Messi rather inexplicably cracked a shot off target when he looked all set to stretch the home side’s commanding lead.

Sevilla were wasteful again after Samuel Umtiti’s handball gave them a penalty, with Bravo saving from Vicente Iborra.

They were out of luck, too, being denied an equaliser on the stroke of half-time when Gabriel Mercado’s stooping header from a difficult angle bounced away off the top of the crossbar.

Arda made it 4-0 on aggregate when he swept home just 54 seconds after the break, seizing on a loose ball 25 yards from goal and whipping the ball over Sergio Rico, possibly with the aid of a slight deflection.

He squandered a hat-trick chance soon afterwards when chipping over the bar, but by then Barcelona were cruising towards their title.

Messi got the goal he deserved in the 55th minute when Munir’s cross from the left somehow found the diminutive Argentinian amid a forest of players, and his header back across goal, at full stretch, bounced into the far corner.

Sevilla were outclassed, but fatigue was also perhaps a factor. The Andalusian side played extra-time in the European Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid last week and were playing their second game against Barcelona in the space of four days.

It was a stroll down easy street for Barcelona after the fifth goal of the tie, or perhaps simply target practice, with Messi driving a free-kick into the Sevilla wall and curling another shot just wide.

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La Liga fixtures: Who plays who in 2016-17

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Fans will have to wait for El Clasico.

The Spanish football federation released the fixtures for the 2016-17 season on Friday, with Atletico Madrid hosting promoted Alaves to kick off their campaign.

Barcelona and Real will have to wait until the first weekend of December for the season’s first Clasico, at the Camp Nou, with the arch rivals meeting on April 22-23 for the reverse fixture in the Spanish capital.

Real visit city rivals Atletico over the weekend of November 19-20, before the two sides face off at the Santiago Bernabeu in early April.

The league season will run until May 21 with the final of the Copa del Rey planned for the following weekend.

Barcelona will warm up for their season opener against Sevilla in the Spanish Super Cup. The first leg takes place in Seville on August 14 with the second leg three days later in Barcelona.

Europa League winners Sevilla face a particularly hectic August schedule, with Jorge Sampaoli’s men also playing Real in the European Super Cup in Trondheim in Norway on August 9.

Opening La Liga fixtures:

Malaga v Osasuna

Real Sociedad v Real Madrid

Sporting Gijon v Athletic Bilbao

Barcelona v Real Betis

Deportivo de La Coruna v Eibar

Atletico Madrid v Alaves

Valencia v Las Palmas

Granada v Villarreal

Sevilla v Espanyol

Celta Vigo v Leganes

Dates of El Clasico next season:

Barcelona v Real Madrid (December 3/4)

Real Madrid v Barcelona (April 22/23)

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Defending European champions Spain favourites says boss Del Bosque

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Del Bosque barks orders at his team in Salzburg.

The 65-year-old guided La Roja to a thumping win over Italy four years ago and his quality-laden squad warmed-up for the tournament with a crushing 6-1 triumph over South Korea in Austria.

Read the full report from Wednesday night’s match, click here.










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