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FC Barcelona have won the Copa del Rey… Again! That’s 31 titles now, a record, including five of the last seven editions. Following a first half in which the goal just didn’t want to come despite Barça’s immense superiority over Athletic (who have now lost two finals of the same competition in the space of a fortnight), the second half was a triumphant march towards the trophy. Barça scored four, and could easily have scored more.
It’s been an amazing rode, with incredible comebacks included, to get to Seville. But it has all ended in the most wonderful of manners, and means the first silverware of the Ronald Koeman era. And hopefully there is still more to come…
Frustrating first half
Barça, wearing the yellow and red ‘senyera’ strip, absolutely thundered at Athletic right from the very first kick. The game was just five minutes and Frenkie de Jong had already struck the post. The 87% possession in the first quarter on an hour said it all. One chance did fall Iñigo Martínez’s way, but otherwise it was Barça, Barça and more Barça.
Athletic were desperately clinging on, totally outclassed by a side that was getting everything right apart from the finish. Despite Barça’s immaculate start to the game, and being the only side that really looked like winning this, the first half ended without a single goal to show for the effort.
The frustration continued after the break. First Griezmann, then Pedri and then Sergio Busquets each found themselves in apparently certain scoring positions, yet each time Athletic stopper Unai Simón almost inexplicably managed to keep them out.
Goals at last!
This was cruel to watch. Why, oh, why, oh, why were Barça not winning this??? But the suffering was not going to last forever. Magic was on the way.
At last it came, and when it did it looked simple… De Jong delivered from the left, Griezmann banged it in and Barça led 1-0. And nobody could argue that the Catalans didn’t fully deserve it.
Moments later and it was two! Jordi Alba whipped in the cross and De Jong was there with a low header to score what already looked to be the definitive goal.
And more goals!
The Dutchman had a hand in the third goal too. He and Messi exchanged an exquisite series of one touch passes and the Argentinian finished it with the coolest of finishes. There’s no way the GOAT was going to miss the party…
He was now well on course to winning his 35th trophy for the club, and just to make sure he rammed in a fourth shortly after. Barça were all over this game… Athletic were dejected. Since last winning this trophy in 1984, they have been to six finals and lost them all, four of them to Barça.
Griezmann looked to have added his second to make it five, but VAR adjudged him to have been offside. But it mattered for nothing by that stage. The cup was won. Força Barça… Roll Freddie… Roll We Are the Champions!
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