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Messi leads Barcelona to Spanish Supercup win

LIONEL Messi scored two second half goals yesterday as Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0 to lift the Spanish Supercup.

Substitute Bojan Krkic also scored as the Catalans secured their eighth Supercup 5-1 on aggregate to take the first of six trophies it is competing for following a historic treble-winning campaign last season.

Messi ran onto Zlatan Ibrahimovic's pass in the 50th minute, moved around a defender and then chipped goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz for his first goal before scoring a penalty in the 68th.

Krkic rounded out the scoreline just a minute after replacing Ibrahimovic, who made his competitive debut after arriving from Inter Milan. The teenage striker seized on an Athletic turnover in the 72nd to walk the ball into goal.

Barcelona dominated possession just as it did at the San Mames, with Messi and Ibrahimovic beginning to strike up an understanding that coach Pep Guardiola is hoping will lead the Catalans to further glory this season.

"We started on the right foot and we need to stay on this track," midfielder Xavi Hernandez said.

The Catalan club is also playing Shakhtar Donetsk for the European Supercup on Friday and will try for the Club World Cup in December.

Goalkeeper Iraizoz kept the Basques in it through the first half with a number of key saves beginning in the 25th minute when Messi let fly with a quick strike from the right side.

Yaya Toure dribbled free along the goal line to find Seydou Keita with a center in the 33rd only for the Mali midfielder to trip over with only Iraizoz to beat.

Soon after denying Gerard Pique, Iraizoz stopped an acrobatic volley from Ibrahimovic after Messi had found the Sweden striker alone in front of goal.

Messi later stepped up to score a penalty after Ustaritz Aldekoaotalora was adjudged to have brought down Daniel Alves inside the box.

Pablo Orbaiz's long-range free kick was Athletic's sole chance as it came to the Camp Nou stadium trying to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg.


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