Football

Fabregas scores in Barca triumph

Fabregas scores in Barca triumph (©PAphotos)
Fabregas scores in Barca triumph (©PAphotos).

Cesc Fabregas scored a brilliant volley to keep Barcelona's non-stop victory parade going with a UEFA Super Cup triumph over Porto.

Fabregas, on the bench until the last 10 minutes, took Lionel Messi's pass on his chest before rifling home to spark scenes of wild celebration from his team-mates.

It means two trophies in 10 days for the former Arsenal man - who won just the FA Cup and a Charity Shield in all his years with the Gunners - with the European and Spanish champions already having the Spanish Super Cup in the bag this season and thanks to Fabregas and Messi's first-half goal, added the UEFA trophy to their cabinet.

Barca had only an effort by Pedro lobbed onto the roof of the net to boast of after half an hour, but they slowly started to warm up with Andres Iniesta in particular making light of the pitch with some awesome dribbling.

Xavi had seen a 25-yard shot tipped over before Messi's goal came six minutes before half-time when Fredy Guarin ruined all his side's good work with an awful attempted backpass. Messi had been slow to get back and he could hardly believe his luck when the ball landed at his feet, and he strolled around Porto keeper Helton for a simple finish.

Porto appeared determined not to waste their good work of the first half with two cracking efforts early in the second. First Moutinho brought another good stop from Valdes and then Guarin fired in a 30-yard thunderbolt that the Barcelona keeper tipped aside. David Villa was put free on goal by Iniesta but for once he snatched at the shot and it was easy for Helton.

A stunning length-of-the-field run involving Pedro and Messi so nearly led to a second goal but Helton came off his line to prod the ball away. Villa made way for Alexis Sanchez, the Chilean winger who joined from Udinese this summer, with Sergio Busquets for Adriano leaving Fabregas sweating as to whether he would get a run-out.

Busquets' misguided header over the oncoming Valdes nearly played Barcelona into trouble but Abidal stretched to clear the loose ball ahead of Kleber. Fabregas was given 10 minutes to shine by Pep Guardiola, coming on for Pedro, almost immediately to be hacked down by Guarin who earned himself a yellow card.

Porto's hopes were all but extinguished when Rolando was given his marching orders for hauling down Messi and earning a second bookable offence. Then came Fabregas' moment, Messi's clip over the defence, the former Arsenal skipper controlling the ball on his chest and then volleying high into the roof of net.

Guarin ended a miserable night for him personally and Porto with a straight red for a nasty lunge on Javier Mascherano.

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Topics:
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Football
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