Sports Desk, Sep 24 (efe-epa).- Champions League winners Bayern Munich needed extra time on Thursday to prevail 2-1 over Europa League holders Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup.
After months of matches behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Bayern and Sevilla found themselves playing in front of roughly 16,000 spectators at Budapest’s Puskas Arena, including 500 traveling Sevilla supporters and 1,000 fans who made the trip from Germany to cheer on the Munich team.
Sevilla, who have won the Europa League a record six times, came into the contest with just one victory in their five previous Super Cup appearances and were certainly the underdogs against what many see as Europe’s strongest side at the moment.
Bayern cruised to an eighth consecutive Bundesliga title before storming through the Champions League knockout stage and playoffs to hoist that trophy for a sixth time.
And the Munich club began the 2020-2021 Bundesliga campaign last weekend with an 8-0 thrashing of Schalke.
Despite the hyper-compressed competition schedule, neither Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui or Bayern’s Hansi Flick seized on the chance to rest key players.
Both teams lost important contributors during the abbreviated off-season. Bayern saw Thiago Alcantara leave for Liverpool, while Sevilla veteran Ever Banega took his talents to Saudi Arabia’s Al-Shabab and Sergio Reguilon – with Lopetegui’s squad on loan from Real Madrid – went to Tottenham Hotspur.
But Flick’s only innovation on Thursday was starting Lucas Hernandez instead of Alphonso Davies and Lopetegui stuck with his updated 11, featuring Ivan Rakitic in Banega’s old spot.
Bayern started aggressively, but the Sevilla back line withstood the pressure and the Spanish side drew first blood.
Just past 10 minutes, Jesus Navas put the ball in the area and Luuk de Jong teed up a shot for Rakitic. Bayern defender David Alaba brought down the Croatian and the referee awarded a penalty.
Lucas Ocampos converted with authority to give Sevilla a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute.
Thomas Müller came close to equalizing for Bayern in the 21st and his effort was followed by chances for Benjamin Pavard and Robert Lewandowski, who forced a stop from Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bono.
In the 33rd minute, however, Bono was helpless to deny Leon Goretzka, skillfully assisted by Lewandowksi.
The second half began with Sevilla on the attack. Sergio Escudero sent a cross in the general direction of De Jong and Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer had to intervene when defender Niklas Süle’s attempt at a clearance sent the ball toward his own net.
Sevilla won three corners, but failed to transform any of them into goals and only a VAR check that detected a Bayern offside prevented Müller from putting the German side ahead.
Lewandowski also had a goal disallowed for an offside infraction.
Both teams showed signs of fatigue as the minutes passed, yet Müller continued his relentless pursuit of a goal and it took a tremendous save by Neuer to stop sub Youssef En-Nesyri from getting the likely match winner in the 87th minute.
The Moroccan hit the post with a strike early in the first extra-time period.
In the 104th minute, five minutes after coming on for Lucas Hernandez, Javi Martinez gave Bayern a 2-1 edge and the Champions League holders made it stick. EFE