Barca out to maintain domestic dominance with Supercopa…

Barcelona will look to add yet another domestic trophy to their collection when they take on Sevilla in the Spanish Supercopa on Sunday.

In a break with tradition, the clash will be a one-off match played at the Stade Ibn Batoutain in Tangier, Morocco.

Sevilla must hope a change of country can help them upset the odds after a chastening 5-0 defeat by Barcelona in the final of the Copa del Rey in April. With Barca having won both the league and the cup, Sevilla provide the opposition once again.

It is a familiar scenario given the only major Spanish honour Barca have not won in the last four seasons was the league title in 2017, where they lost out to Real Madrid.

They have been less dominant in the Supercopa, beating Sevilla in 2016 but losing to Athletic Bilbao in 2015 and Madrid 12 months ago.

The added complication for Sevilla is their involvement in Europa League qualifying, with Sunday’s match coming in the middle of their two legs against Lithuanian side Zalgiris.

New boss Pablo Machin, who left Girona to take over at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, said on sevillafc.es: “On Sunday we’ll play a final we’ve won the right to be at and we have to give it the importance it has.

“We will not reach 100 per cent. Being a team with a different way of playing we need some time, but the team is assimilating well and they are good and intelligent footballers.”

Lionel Messi is set to play his first match for Barca since being named Andres Iniesta’s successor as club captain and Ernesto Valverde must decide how many of his World Cup stars he throws into the mix.

Teenagers Riqui Puig and Juan Miranda have impressed in pre-season and could be involved, but Carles Alena and Denis Suarez are recovering from injury.

There was good news for Barca on the eve of the match, with Philippe Coutinho now classed as a European player thanks to his Portuguese wife, meaning Valverde could potentially give debuts to all of his new trio – Arthur Melo, Malcom and Arturo Vidal.

Malcom’s transfer from Bordeaux was controversial after the Catalan side nabbed him from under the noses of Roma and now the Brazilian cannot wait to get started.

He said on fcbarcelona.com: “Barca for me is more than a club. I feel privileged to be here. I want to win titles and be an idol like the great Brazilians who have been here.

“All players dream of playing with Barca. I didn’t imagine it would be so soon, but I knew I could fulfil my dream of playing here.”

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