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The incomparable emotions of La Copa

There is nothing like the emotions of La Copa, especially now with the one-leg format that gives no oppurtunity for a rematch.

Football like this may be seen as bad from a financial perspective as it is not uncommon for some of the top players to be knocked out of the competition before the final stages. But the competition’s authentic drama largely compensates for that.

Yesterday we had two examples of La Copa at its best with two games resolved in extra time. First, Levante, who managed to go through thanks to a last-gasp goal by Roger in the 121st minute. Levante have never reached this far in the competition. They head to the semi-finals with elation after a good game against a first-class regional rival in Villarreal.

Barcelona fought for their lives

Then came Barça, who found themselves 2-0 down in the 88th minute against Granada, before they switched to a 3-3-4 and launched a tremendous effort to win the game 5-2 after 120 minutes. Barça fought for La Copa as if their lives depended on it – showing what the competition means even to these star footballers.

It was a truly beautiful game that will have compensated Koeman for some of the frustrating issues being thrown up at Barça both on and off the pitch. He remains calm in the eye of the storm – amid the setbacks that appear before him in all forms: Messi's anger, the resignation of the president, the delay of presidential elections, comic defensive failures, missed penalties, the impossibility of signing, Messi’s contract … the list goes on. And I lost count yesterday.

But he has the team at his fingertips, and that showed through the conviction with which they attacked again and again yesterday, putting in an excellent effort until they secured their semi-final place with a legendary 5-3 victory.