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Athletic Bilbao 0-4 Barcelona: 5 hits and flops as Lionel Messi magic guides Catalans to Copa Del Rey final triumph

Barcelona win their 31st Copa Del Rey title!
Barcelona win their 31st Copa Del Rey title!
Sachin Bhat

Barcelona won their first trophy of the Ronald Koeman-era after brushing aside Athletic Bilbao 4-0 in the Copa Del Rey finals.

Two brilliant goals from Lionel Messi, coupled with goals from Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie De Jong, condemned Los Leones to their second cup final loss in a week.

The first-half was a cagey affair with few chances and ended 0-0 at the break. However, Blaugrana came flying out of the blocks in the second-half and tore Bilbao apart.

Messi, in particular, looked in an inspired form, and scored two lovely goals as Barcelona lifted their fifth Copa Del Rey title in the last seven years.

Here are the hits and flops from the match:


Hit: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Messi won his seventh Copa title after an insane performance
Messi won his seventh Copa title after an insane performance

He's simply the man for big occasions. Lionel Messi put Bilbao to the sword on the night with two lovely goals.

The first was a work of art, with the skipper doing a neat one-two with De Jong while bursting forward at exceptional pace and then cutting onto his left before firing into the far corner.

It was almost reminiscent of his Puskas winning goal against Los Leones in the 2015 finals.

Messi then followed it up with a second, producing a strong finish off Alba's cross and effectively ending the tie as a contest.

He may be turning 34 soon but Messi is still far from done.


Flop: Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao)

Simon was soundly beaten in the second half
Simon was soundly beaten in the second half

He was good in the first-half, making a couple of crucial stops to keep the scoreline level at the break. However, it all went downhill thereafter.

As Barcelona piled forward with belligerence to lay siege to Bilbao's goal, Simon cut a listless figure between the posts.

His confidence was knocked out of him as the Spaniard helplessly watched the likes of Messi and De Jong bombard the net behind him.

Hit: Frenkie De Jong (Barcelona)

A man of the match performance from the Dutch starlet
A man of the match performance from the Dutch starlet

Frenkie De Jong had an exceptional night. He was involved in Barcelona's first three goals of the night, assisting Griezmann and Messi on either side of his strike.

It was his seventh goal of the season for Blaugrana in all competitions but arguably the most important of them all.

But what took the cake here was his linkup with Messi for the latter's strike. He showed tremendous composure and quick-thinking for a few brilliant one-twos before releasing the captain with a lovely throughball.


Flop: Inaki Williams (Barcelona)

Williams was a pale shadow of his self which ripped Barcelona apart in the Supercup
Williams was a pale shadow of his self which ripped Barcelona apart in the Supercup

The man who loves scoring against Barcelona, Inaki Williams, was caught cold tonight. He suffered a quiet night and was barely even seen in the game.

While it's true that the Spaniard was left devoid of service most of the time, his off-the-ball work left a lot to be desired too. He hardly put in any effort to win the ball back.

Los Leones mustered only one shot on target all night, a testament to how poor they were in attack, and Williams, as well as Raul Garcia up to some extent, should take the blame for an abysmal showing upfront.


Hit: Jordi Alba (Barcelona)

Alba turned back the calendar tonight
Alba turned back the calendar tonight

Jordi Alba played a phenomenal role in Barcelona's resounding triumph, creating two goals and delivering a top overall performance.

He was the key to stretching Bilbao defensively, perennially staying wide and feeding the attackers in the middle with lovely crosses, two of which found De Jong and Messi for their respective goals.

The Spaniard has often been called into question since last season for his unsatisfactory performances and recurring injury problems. However, he showed he still has a lot left to offer with a vintage display tonight.

Edited by Diptanil Roy

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