Barcelona came from behind to beat arch-rivals Real Madrid 3-2 in the Nou Camp in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Thursday.
Spanish champions Real took a 55th minute lead when Cristiano Ronaldo headed home from a Mesut Ozil corner, but their lead lasted just a minute as Pedro equalized for the home side.
The game had come to life in the second half and both sides had good opportunities before Lionel Messi scored from the penalty spot after Sergio Ramos had pulled down Andres Iniesta.
Spain star Iniesta then set away his midfield partner Xavi to score Barcelona’s third.
A comfortable two-goal advantage seemed enough to set the seal on a great night for the Catalan giants.
But they were undone five minutes from time when their goalkeeper Victor Valdes tried to take the ball around Angel Di Maria, lost possession and gifted the Argentine an open goal.
It means Barcelona will take only a slender lead into the second leg in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium next Wednesday.
“One of our aims was to score in the Nou Camp, that goal from Di Maria changed everything,” Real captain Iker Casillas told the club’s official website.
New Barca coach Tito Vilanova refused to blame his goalkeeper.
“We asked him to do that. If he boots the ball down the field we wouldn’t have any semblance of a passing style of play,” said Vilanova. “During these years he’s given us a lot and he’s helped us build our play up from the back.
“The result isn’t definitive for either side. It’s good that we won but we could have ended the match with a larger margin of victory yet, in the end, the result was pretty tight.”
Real boss Jose Mourinho admitted that his side had struggled at the outset, but battled back into the game.
“I didn’t enjoy the first half. Sometimes you play a way you don’t want to. The opponent has the ability to change the game plan you have and Barcelona did that in the first half,” Mourinho said.
“They pressed well and didn’t let us play. We defended well and we occupied defensive positions, but Barcelona was better. It might appear as though it was a defensive plan, but it wasn’t and we showed that in the second half, where we played completely differently.”
In Europa League qualifying action Thursday, an own goal from Andy Webster gave Liverpool a 1-0 win at Scottish side Hearts in their first leg tie.
Fellow English Premier League side Newcastle held Greek side Atromitos to a 1-1 draw while Italian giants Inter Milan were 2-1 winners at Romania’s FC Vaslui.
Last year’s runners-up Athletic Bilboa thumped HJK Helsinki 6-0 and Marseille were 2-1 winners at Sheriff Tiraspol.