(Jordi Blanco) – Barçelona’s Cup gives him a tummy ache. If he needed extra time to overcome Cornellá, a third-rate team, he also suffered to sentence his classification to the quarterfinals against Rayo Vallecano, to whom he had to overcome the initial goal of Fran García after a dominance, not brilliant but yes solvent, with which he should have sentenced the tie with much more tranquility. 1-2, with the goals from Messi and De Jong were enough in the end to give credit to the night.
El Rayo resisted for many minutes and enjoyed for a few, just seven, being ahead on the scoreboard, well into the second half and when it was understood that the pressure from Koeman’s team would end up breaking down the wall. A wall that, logically, must have fallen much earlier.
And it is that between a possible penalty to Trincao committed by Marugan at 8 minutes and another by Martos to the Portuguese player himself at 42, Barça had plenty of chances to beat Dimitrievski, highlighting two shots to the wood of De Jong and Riqui Puig who allowed Rayo to breathe, relieved, if that was not enough, with the reflections of their goalkeeper against Messi or Trincao himself, who at 35 minutes missed an unforgivable heads up.
FEAR AND REACTION
Barça had to sentence his classification before the break and as soon as the second half started the stick, with a free kick from Messi, he again avoided the goal, drawing among the players an evident frustration due to the occasions of failures and giving air to a Ray that Little by little, he was looking for Neto’s goal.
Koeman’s team went from dominator to deconcentrated and, suddenly, after two dangerous arrivals, with a shot by Fran García that Neto stopped, after the game time the bomb arrived. A great breakthrough on the right side of Alvaro’s area ended with a very closed center to which Neto barely responded by rejecting and leaving the ball at will for Fran García’s shot on goal.
1-0 and absolute surprise. Koeman’s response was almost immediate with a triple change, the entry of Dembélé, Alba and Pedri and a revolution in the game, more rhythm, speed and pressure, which was ideal for Barça and fatal for Rayo.
As soon as Pedri entered the field, not long after a goal disallowed by De Jong, and in the 69th minute a combination between Alba and Griezmann ended with the assistance of the Frenchman for Messi to score at pleasure, his 18th goal against Rayo at that he has taken the measure and that this time he had the flavor of the comeback that was becoming clearer and clearer.
Barça did not reduce the intensity and, as expected, taking advantage of the fatigue of a rival who could no longer maintain the pressure as before, ended up coming back. Messi saw Jordi Alba run down the wing, he extended the ball and the low center past the side was riveted by De Jong, once again superb as a second-row player to score his fourth goal since the beginning of the year.
And it is over. Rayo no longer had a pulse for the machado and Barça took it easy, trying to defend as far away from his goal (which he did not always achieve) and even missing a new goal Messi before, at the end of the extension, he tried , desperate, to tie the game Vallecano team. Unlucky.
Barça, who was able to sentence his pass in the first half, ended up being forced to come back. Did. And to rooms.