Messi & Barcelona soothe Champions League pain with Copa masterclass in Madrid

Last updated
Comments()
The Catalans went some way to erasing the memory of their recent European exit as they thrashed Sevilla 5-0 to win the Spanish cup on Saturday

That was more like it from Barcelona. Still reeling from their Champions League loss and elimination against Roma earlier this month, Ernesto Valverde's side produced a performance to banish those blues on Saturday.

The Blaugrana battered a nervy Sevilla side 5-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano in an extremely one-sided affair to win the Copa del Rey, a maiden piece of silverware under Valverde, and complete the first part of a likely domestic double.

Much criticism came Barca's way after their 3-0 loss at Roma saw them crash out of the Champions League on away goals and, on Saturday, Mundo Deportivo reported that Valverde could be axed if his side failed to win the cup.

But there was never any danger of that. Barca were relentless from the outset and quickly tore Sevilla apart, albeit the first goal arriving from an unlikely source as Jasper Cillessen's long punt upfield found Phillipe Coutinho, who squared for Luis Suarez to open the scoring.

Coutinho was unable to feature for the Blaugrana in the Champions League after turning out for Liverpool in the group stages prior to his January transfer and, on this evidence, he could have made a difference against Roma.

Messi hit Barca's second with a powerful finish after some a fine run and lovely cutback from Jordi Alba, their association a real feature of Barcelona's play this season.

With that, Messi became the second player in Copa del Rey history to score in five different finals (with six goals in total). The first player to achieve the feat was Telmo Zarra between 1942 and 1950 (with eight).

And before the break, Suarez – who was injured in the Copa final against Sevilla two years ago and missed last season's through suspension – scored a second after an assist from Messi.

Sevilla Barcelona score

Article continues below

The Argentine attacker then set up Andres Iniesta for the midfielder – quite probably playing in his last final for Barca with a move to China looking likely this summer – to finish with aplomb from a tight angle.

Coutinho rounded off the scoring from the penalty spot after Messi handed him the ball and Barca fans inside the Wanda Metropolitano were in great voice as they celebrated a trophy which should be followed up by winning La Liga next weekend, with the Blaugrana 12 points clear of second-placed Atletico with just five rounds to play.

So, while missing out on the Champions League and the collapse in Rome will still hurt for the players and also the fans, Saturday was a return to happy times for Barcelona as the Catalans claimed their fourth Copa in a row to complete the first part of what should be a fine finale to this season.

Next article:
Southgate eyes winning end to England's 'brilliant year'
Next article:
How will Mexico line up against Argentina on Friday?
Next article:
Kenny Dalglish and Jermain Defoe express delight after being honoured at Buckingham Palace
Next article:
Ranieri tells Fulham fans not to expect repeat of Leicester 'fairytale'
Next article:
River deny agreeing Real Madrid move for wonderkid Palacios
Close