Two days in Spain and Fabregas helps win Cup

Aug 18, 2011
Bill Mann

But Jose Mourinho is in the doghouse after Barca-Real game ends in touchline fracas

Six years at Arsenal without so much as a sniff of silverware and within 48 hours of joining Barcelona Cesc Fabregas is admiring his reflection in the Supercopa trophy. Mind you, it's a bruised reflection thanks to a massed brawl that erupted late on in Barcelona's 3-2 defeat of Real Madrid.

Having helped create Lionel Messi's winning goal two minutes from time, Fabregas was then scythed down by Marcelo in injury time and chaos ensued.

All 22 players and several backroom staff squared up to each other on the touchline in a scene that made last weekend's set-to between Arsenal and Newcastle look like child's play.

When the dust had settled the referee gave Barcelona's David Villa and Madrid's Mesut Ozil their marching orders, though there might be further punishments dished out by the Spanish league once they've read the referee's report.

Fabregas didn't seem fazed by the brawl, telling reporters later: "This is very competitive football. We are talking about the two best clubs in the world and every team wants to win. This is normal in football."

Fabregas made his £35m move from Arsenal to Barcelona on Monday, the day after the first leg of the Supercopa at the Bernabeu had ended in a 2-2 draw.

Yet Barca coach Pep Guardiola adjudged the 24-year-old ready to make his debut in the return leg at the Camp Nou and Fabregas entered the fray on 81 minutes just after Real striker Karim Benzema had scored to make it 2-2.

As extra-time loomed, Fabregas was involved in the move that ended with Lionel Messi volleying home the winner (and his second goal of the night) to give Barcelona their third consecutive Supercopa title with a 5-4 aggregate victory.

Asked later how good it felt to get his hands on a trophy after six years without a title at Arsenal, Fabregas replied: "It's always good to start well, with positive situations like this. I am very happy."

One man who wasn't happy, however, was Real boss Jose Mourinho. Though he dismissed the Supercopa as "a tiny little title" he also admitted  the defeat hurt. "If we said we are very happy when we do not win a title we would be hypocrites... we are not happy."

Mourinho's anger was evident in the touchline fracas that kicked off following Marcelo's tackle on Fabregas. Television pictures showed the Real coach tug the ear of Barcelona assistant Tito Vilanova, though the 'Special One' later claimed he hadn't known it was Vilanova's ear he was pulling.  

"The images speak for themselves," said Guardiola later, when asked about his counterpart's behaviour. "If this doesn't stop it's going to end badly."

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique was even more forthright in his condemnation of Mourinho and challenged the authorities to take action against the Real coach.

"Mourinho is destroying Spanish football," Pique said. "It's not the first time and it's always a number of players and the same ones so there has to be some way of stopping them. I hope they adopt the necessary sanctions because every game cannot end this way."

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