Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s heroics ensured Barcelona edged past Real Sociedad on penalties on Wednesday to reach the Spanish Super Cup final, without the injured Lionel Messi.
Messi was watching on as Ter Stegen did his best to fill the void in Cordoba, the goalkeeper immense both in the shoot-out and during normal time, which had finished 1-1.
Frenkie de Jong’s header was cancelled out by a penalty from Mikel Oyarzabal, who then missed in the shoot-out, one of two crucial saves made by Ter Stegen before 21-year-old Riqui Puig hit the winning shot.
“I wasn’t down to take one but we needed one more taker and I stepped forward,” said Puig.
Barca advance to meet either Real Madrid or Athletic Bilbao in the final on Sunday, when Messi is expected to be available again, although coach Ronald Koeman was cautious at full-time.
“We have to wait,” he said.
Koeman’s team have a mountain to climb in La Liga’s title race but they are improving, now nine games unbeaten…