Cesc stars as Barça reign in Monaco
Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive goal for Barcelona as the European champions brushed aside FC Porto 2-0 to win the UEFA Super Cup on Friday.
Fabregas, who moved from Arsenal in a €29million deal earlier this month, was on target two minutes from time after coming on as a substitute just eight minutes earlier.
Lionel Messi had put Barcelona ahead in the 39th minute as the Spanish giants added the European Super Cup to their domestic Super Cup triumph of last week. Porto, the UEFA Europa League winners of last season, ended the match with nine men after Rolando and Fredy Guarin were red-carded in the closing stages.
Fabregas's goal was a strike to remember, as was the build-up. Messi chipped the ball over a line of defenders into the path of Fabregas who calmly controlled it on his chest before finishing coolly past Helton in the Porto goal. It was Fabregas's first goal since he scored for Arsenal against Huddersfield in the FA Cup back in January.
It was Messi who had given Barcelona a first-half lead as he stamped his authority on the match at the Stade Louis II. Porto lost the ball in midfield which allowed Messi to glide one way, then the other to deceive Helton and slot his opportunity home.
The Portuguese side, who had won their domestic league without losing a game last season, had two opportunities in the opening 45 minutes, both from free-kicks. But Brazilian striker Hulk, who scored 35 goals in that campaign, missed the target on both occasions.
Porto, now coached by Vitor Pereira after former boss Andre Villas-Boas switched to Chelsea in the summer, were the better side in the early stages of the second half with Victor Valdes pulling off a fine save to deny a long-range Guarin effort.
Messi then had the ball in the net only to be whistled up for offside before Barcelona showed off their strength in depth by introducing new signings Alexis Sanchez, their €26million Chilean striker, as well as Fabregas off the bench. Sanchez looked lively, curling a right-foot effort just wide of the post.
Porto's misery was complete when Rolando was sent-off for chopping down Messi in the 86th minute before Gurain also saw red in the 90th minute for a foul on Javier Mascherano.