Barcelona registered a 2-0 extra-time win over Sevilla to lift their 28th Copa del Rey title – the most by any club. Javier Mascherano was given his marching orders for the Blaugrana in the first-half, while the Los Rojiblancos were down to 9-men for the last few minutes after the sending off of Ever Banega and Daniel Carrico.
In a high-octane contest, which witnessed crunching tackles and some last ditch defending, it was Luis Enrique’s side that managed to have the last laugh to celebrate a domestic double, having already won the La Liga.
Coming on the back of their third successive Europa League triumph in midweek when they beat Liverpool 3-1, Unai Emery’s side put in a performance worthy of the finals to give Barcelona a run for their money.
In a game which saw referee, Carlos Del Cerro Grande, hand out 12 yellow cards and 3 red cards, it was the brilliance of Lionel Messi that proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Barcelona relied on the creativity and artistry of their magical front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, while Sevilla threatened on the break through the pace of Kevin Gameiro.
After a decent start by Barcelona, which saw Luis Suarez miss an easy chance in the opening 10 minutes, Javier Mascherano was sent off in the 36th minute after he tugged the shirt of Gamiero, having allowed the Frenchman to race through on goal. The Argentine took one for the team as he was the last man between Gamiero and Ter Stegen.
The numerical advantage of Emery’s side showed in the second half as they put more pressure on Barcelona, but failed to trouble the scoreline. Uruguayan hitman Suarez, who had been in sensational form throughout the season, had to be replaced in the 57th minute after he injured his hamstring while trying to control a ball.
As the game looked destined to head towards extra-time, Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega was rightly given his marching orders, after he put in a horrible tackle to stop Neymar, who had latched on to a Messi through ball.
Jordi Alba opened the scoring for his side in the 97th minute of the game after getting on the end of Messi’s exquisite over the top through ball. The full-back allowed the ball to bounce, before firing it past Sergio Rico to break the deadlock.
Los Rajiblancos were reduced to 9-men after Daniel Carrico was shown two yellow cards in quick succession in the injury time of the second period of extra time. First he was booked for a late challenge on Messi, before receiving the second yellow for arguing with the referee.
The diminutive Argentine put the game to bed after threading through an inch-perfect through ball to Neymar, who curled the ball past a diving Rico. Barcelona extended their record of being the most successful club in Copa del Rey history, lifting their second successive trophy at the Vicente Calderon in Madrid.
Here are how the players fared during the game:
Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 6.5/10
The German had a relatively quiet night as he was hardly troubled by the Los Rajiblancos. He was equal to whatever the Europa League winners threw his way and made a particularly decent stop to deny Banega from opening the scoring in the first half.
Dani Alves – 6.5/10
The Brazilian full-back provided an outlet for Barcelona while attacking, but was far from his best. Alves was caught out of position more often than once and failed to close down the threat of Vitolo.
Gerard Pique – 8.5/10
The Spanish defender was a rock at the heart of Barcelona’s defence and put in numerous last-ditch tackles to get his side out of the jail. Although he was no match to the pace of Gameiro, he made up for it by making some vital interceptions.
Javier Mascherano – 2/10
The Argentine was caught napping as he allowed Gameiro to race through on the goal and had to put in a last-man tackle, which resulted in his sending off and could have cost Barcelona the game.
Jordi Alba – 7.5/10
Having struggled to influence the game in an attacking sense for most parts, Alba broke the deadlock for his side with a neat finish from an acute angle. The Spaniard was kept on his toes by Coke, but managed to keep the Europa League final hero quiet.
Sergio Busquets – 7/10
Busquets dropped deeper following the sending-off of Mascherano and provided ample protection to the back four, while also making some vital interceptions.
Andres Iniesta – 7.5/10
The captain led by example as he orchestrated the Barcelona midfield with aplomb. Iniesta was the architect of everything going forward and covered a huge amount of ground to make up for the numerical disadvantage of his side.
Ivan Rakitic – 5/10
The Croatian had a quiet first-half and didn’t have much influence on the game, before being sacrificed to shore up the defence at half-time as Luis Enrique brought on Mathieu for the midfielder.
Lionel Messi – 9.5/10
Arguably the best player on the planet, Messi was at his selfless best as he put the two goals on a plate for his teammates to score and help the Blaugrana complete the double. The Argentine was unstoppable at times and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.
Neymar – 7.5/10
The fleet-footed Brazilian had a tough time until Banega was sent off for a poor challenge on him. He sprang to life in the extra-time and caused a lot of trouble for the opposition defence, finally getting a reward for his relentless work-rate when he scored the second goal for his side.
Luis Suarez – 5.5/10
Suarez missed an easy chance after being set up by Iniesta in the opening 10 minutes. The European Golden Shoe winner was subdued due to some excellent marking by Carrico, before picking up a hamstring injury in the 57th minute. Uruguay would be sweating over the fitness of their star-striker in light of the impending Copa America.
Jeremy Mathieu – 6.5/10
Replaced Rakitic at half-time and put in a good shift alongside Pique to help Barcelona keep a clean sheet.
Rafinha – 5/10
The Brazilian came on to replace Suarez, but did not have a telling impact on the game.
Sergi Roberto – N/A
Came on to replace Jordi Alba in the 120th minute.