Barcelona won an unforgettable Copa del Rey final
Barça have clinched the domestic double again, wrapping things up in a tremendous final against a Sevilla side that, true to their anthem, never gave in. Only on this occasion nor too did Barça. They won in a manner different to that for which they have been lauded this century, with industry and through suffering. It was ten against eleven for 55 minutes, during which time Sevilla had them on th ropes with all their attacking prowess, but still they were able to roll with the punches. Piqué put on a heroic display in his own box, Iniesta provided the team with a supply of oxygen when he could through his exquisite touch and everyone to a man was committed to the cause of containing the Sevilla onslaught.
There was nothing between the teams and nothing noteworthy to speak of until in the 36th minute the game was jolted into life. Sergio Rico launched a long goal kick forward, Iborra nodded it on, Gameiro sprinted through on goal and Mascherano pulled the Frenchman down just as he was making his way into the box. Red card. Barça were down to ten men and Sevilla started steadily turning the vice. Emery’s charges controlled the pitch and the ball, and were spurred on with having safety in numbers, although they lacked that final bit of incision to inflict serious damage. Up against them was a Barça team at their mercy, albeit one that was still not down and out. A blood, sweat and tears Barça. A different Barça.
Sevilla needed a goal and in the 80th minute Emery made a decision that he would later rue: replacing Mariano for Konoplyanka in the hope of sharpening things up in attack. However, not only did that not come to pass, but the departure of Mariano opened space up for Barça and provided them with a lifeline. Neymar could see that, so too could his team-mates. It was on that flank that Sevilla became compromised. It was on that flank that Benega was sent off in the 90th minute for pulling on Neymar. It was on that flank that the game was decided in extra time, with ten men versus ten men, and Barça getting two goals. Barcelona were able to grind it out when they had to and got into their groove later. It was an unforgettable final.
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