Jordi Blanco (Correspondent in Barcelona) – Barcelona won the Copa del Rey mercilessly crushing, by 4-0, an Athletic that resisted as best they could for an hour the absolute dominance of the champion but that as soon as they conceded the first goal of Griezmann, at game time, collapsed without further ado. Dominated from start to finish, the Basque team was always at the mercy of a rival who punished him mercilessly in the second half, in which he did the same as in the first … But with more success in front of the door.
With a superb De Jong and a superlative and bigoleador Messi as spearheads, Barça was a roller that Athletic could hardly stand up to, which miraculously ended the first half with a tie on the scoreboard and surrendered with no other option to starting from 0-1. Griezmann, De Jong, Messi and Messi personalized Barça’s four goals, which ended, in a big way, with two years of drought and added their 31st Cup title.
Koeman’s team ate, to begin with, a dwarfed rival. In seven minutes he had already warned three times, with a shot from De Jong at the post just beginning that put fear in the body of an Athletic that did not reach Ter Stegen’s area until eleven minutes, giving him the usual scare with a A set piece whose center failed to finish off in conditions by millimeters Íñigo Martínez …
But that rojiblanco warning was, more than ever, the exception that confirms the rule. The first half ended without goals but with an almost overwhelming dominance of Barça, with a ball control of more than 80 percent and absolute control of the situation against an Athletic that would only warn again, already close to half-time. , in a center without more danger from Iñaki Williams.
Under the baton of a very active Messi, and punished by the hard marking of Dani García, and accompanied by a monumental of Jong, Barça maintained patience, placement, combination and appropriate arrivals to the Unai Simón area … But he suffered, a habitual deficit, of auction to transfer to the marker its ample dominance, surviving the siege the Athletic with greater comfort than it was understood by the game.
Marcelino retouched the drawing at halftime, reinforcing his invisible midfield with the entry of Lekue by a muted Muniaín, but he found another fierce exit from Barça, who went for the game without dissimulation and that, miraculously, did not give the first hit on entry.
Unai, three times in five minutes, denied the goal to Griezmann, Pedri and Busquets, with two masterful rejections to the French and the squad, which caused hilarity among the Catalans, incredulous at the bad luck that was repeated in the final shot … And after a timid attack by Athletic, trying to get rid of the pressure, the blows from Barça came.
The Basque team held out for an hour and collapsed in three minutes. First with the center of De Jong that Griezmann finished off first, majestic in his arrival from behind, to the network and without time to react, in a closed center diagonally by Jordi Alba that Messi let pass so that De Jong, head, round off a magnificent performance scoring the 0-2.
Dominator of the situation without any discussion, the victory gave way to a landslide in a monumental play between De Jong and Messi that the Argentine sentenced with a compliment and a soft shot, tight, to the stick that he finished off a broken rival and unable to reposition himself. on the pitch, watching the final twenty minutes like a nightmare.
Crying out for the end, Athletic was already a broken toy at the hands of an unleashed Barça who gave him another thrust shortly after. In fact, in just twelve minutes he scored four goals, with another from Leo in his usual combination play with Jordi Alba, who gave him an assist backwards for the captain to put that already humiliating 0-4 for the rojiblancos.
Barça avenged the defeat of the Super Cup, ended almost two years of drought and won a Cup with a special flavor. The first title of Ronald Koeman and won with an undisputed superiority as surprising and almost forgotten in a Cup final.
Barça is back …