Iñaki Williams’ Extra Time Screamer Sinks Barcelona In Super Cup Final

After finishing entirely trophyless last season, Barcelona’s players emphasized how important this year's Supercopa de España was, even if the timing and circumstances surrounding this year’s edition were less than ideal for all four competing clubs. 

Sergio Busquets labelled it “an important step,” Ronald Koeman said it would “obviously confirm we are on the right path,” but their opponents — unfavored Athletic Club — weren’t concerned after dumping out Real Madrid in their semifinal.

“Faith moves mountains and when you fight with your friends it is easier to win,” Iñaki Williams said in the buildup. “I don’t care if Messi is there or not. We know of his potential, but Barça have plenty of players to supply him. We will do our thing, and make it very uncomfortable. If they want to beat us, they will have to suffer.”    

Messi did return to Barcelona’s starting lineup after missing the semifinal shootout win over Real Sociedad, but the opening 40 minutes were played at a walking pace. You could only imagine what Riqui Puig thought watching it unfold from the bench after scoring the winning penalty in the semis.

But suddenly we had fireworks. In the 40th minute, Lionel Messi’s cross-field throughball released Jordi Alba, and the fullback then attempted to return the favor. Messi drew the defense with him and had his shot blocked, but Antoine Griezmann was there to clean up.  

Before Griezmann could even finish dancing his little jig, Athletic was level. Williams got on the ball, spotted the run of Óscar de Marcos and picked him out beautifully.  

The match went from dud to pure artistry.

Sergiño Dest, who’d only just returned from injury, was worryingly replaced at halftime, and Athletic had the ball in the back of the net in the 57th minute through semifinal hero Raúl García. After a VAR review, it was revealed that he was narrowly offside.

Athletic went close again through Williams in the 68th minute, but Barcelona reestablished its lead in the 77th after Athletic’s defense was torn apart by an exchange of passes between Alba and Ousmane Dembélé.

Dembélé’s return pass found Alba in space, and the fullback made the simplest of passes to Griezmann for the simplest of finishes.

Marcelino threw on all his attacking options off the bench, but Barcelona held firm . . . until the 90th minute. 

A free kick on the right was swung in by Iker Muniain and Asier Villalibre stabbed home from close range.  

That was a shocking finish to the game, but things got even better in extra time.

Three minutes in, Iñaki Williams — again in the space where he punished Barça in the first half — cracked an unstoppable effort off the inside of the far post.   

Barcelona went on tilt. The only action remaining was Messi, after a VAR review, receiving a straight red card for slapping Villalibre in the back of the head off the ball. 

This could be the start of a memorable year for Athletic. Victory in the Supercopa (their first since 2015) would pale to ultimately winning the delayed 2020 Copa del Rey Final, which will be played against Real Sociedad on April 4. 

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