SEVILLE, Spain (Reuters) – Lionel Messi netted twice as Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao 4-0 in Saturday’s Copa del Rey final to clinch their 31st cup with all goals scored in half hours passed.
Antoine Griezmann gave Barca the one-hour lead as he switched direction from Frenkie de Jong, who doubled the lead for the Catalan side three minutes later.
Messi suffered some rough tackling from Athletic but revenge with a breathtaking goal in the 68th minute, breaking through the defense on the right flank and joining De Jong before jumping around another defender to scored.
The Barca captain scored again 4 minutes later in the 10th Copa final when he met Jordi Alba’s low pass and shot the ball into the low corner, his shot proved too powerful for goalkeeper Unai. Athletic Simon.
Griezmann thought he got his fifth goal for Barca in additional time but his effort was penalized offside after considering the VAR.
“It is special to lift this Cup as the captain of this club, it has been a very happy day for this team,” Messi said.
“We knew Athletic was going to play as they did and we had to be patient with the ball and try to create space. We got past them in the first half and in the second they gave up.”
The Argentine lifted the title for the seventh time while Dutch coach Ronald Koeman won his first silver trophy as Barca coach to further boost the trophy he won as a bridge. club players, including the Copa championship in 1990.
Koeman also won the Copa while leading Valencia in 2008.
DEJA VU FOR ATHLETIC
There is a strong sense of confidence for Athletic, the team has now lost to Barca four Copa finals since 2009, with Messi scoring every single time.
Basques have lost their last six times in the final and just two weeks ago were beaten 1-0 by Real Sociedad in a rescheduled match in 2020, also played at an empty La Cartuja stadium. in Seville.
Athletic left-back Mikel Balenziaga said: “This is a very difficult moment for us.
“We were really looking forward to the game but they were ahead from the first half. We tried to survive but then we lost focus and they were a lot better than us and we didn’t get a chance. . “
Barca were hurt after a 2-1 loss in La Liga last week to rivals Real Madrid but took the initiative with 79% of possession in the first half and almost took the lead before De Jong hit the post, then Messi shot a long shot.
Athletic beat Barca 2-1 after extra time in the Spanish Super Cup final in January but showed little ambition here and only one effort in the first half, when defender Inigo Martinez shot straight in Close corner following a free kick.
Athletic goalkeeper Simon made three stunning saves at the start of the opening game, using his left foot to block Griezmann and then Sergio Busquets from the void while blocking Pedri’s shot.
In the end, Griezmann got the better of Simon to break the deadlock and once Barca has taken the lead, they have no mercy.
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