Neymar opened his FC Barcelona account to earn a 1-1 draw at Club Atlético de Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup.
Barcelona, whose three-year grip on the trophy was ended last year by Real Madrid CF, were not able to repeat the seven-goal show of Gerardo Martino's debut match in charge on Sunday. However, Neymar cancelled out the strike of someone he has replaced, David Villa, to put Barcelona in a strong position for next Wednesday's Camp Nou return.
The visitors dominated possession early on but Atlético's patient counterattacking earned a 13th-minute reward. Arda Turan's cross fell perfectly for Villa to volley in against his former team. Barça pressed hard, and had two good chances after the break while Diego Costa went close for Atlético, but on 66 minutes it was 1-1 when Neymar headed in a Daniel Alves centre.
Gerardo Martino, Barcelona coach
The game had two different parts. They controlled the match in the first half, and we did in the second. They were looking to score on the counterattack, and they did. We were looking to do it with our style and we did it too. We had a hard time finding some space to pass the ball through the defence.
Neymar, Barcelona forward
I'm very happy to have scored the equaliser. It was a difficult game against some quality players. The outcome is really good and now we have to top it off at home. The final is still open. Atlético are a tough team and they showed that today.
Diego Simeone, Atlético coach
I'm proud of my players. It was an incredible game, the first half was one of our best finals. Now we have an important game at their stadium and we have to make an immense effort to keep the rhythm and the same style of play we had today, which was really good and that encouraged us to stay on this path.
David Villa, Atlético forward
I'm very happy about the goal, which is what people ask from a striker. I was able to give the advantage to my team, but it's a shame we didn't win because we fought and got in front of a great team and we could have got a better result ahead of the second leg.
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