Newly-named captain Matt Simon says Usain Bolt has made immense strides since arriving at Central Coast but is refusing to shed light on whether the Jamaican superstar will remain at the A-League club.
FC Barcelona romped their way to the Copa del Rey trophy with a 5-0 win over Sevilla. It was Barcelona’s fourth consecutive cup win and 30th overall victory in the competition.
They were back to their slick best in this one and played as if to avenge the disappointment of the AS Roma upset.
Luis Suarez opened the scoring after a brilliant goal kick by Jasper Cillessen. Lionel Messi doubled Barcelona’s advantage and assisted the third for Suarez to make it 3-0 before the break.
Andres Iniesta made it four in what could be his last ever final with the club. Philippe Coutinho scored the final goal of the match, slotting it home from the penalty spot.
All in all, it was an inch-perfect outing for Messi and co. In this piece, we will analyze the Copa del Rey final from Barcelona’s point of view and discuss the three major things that the Catalans did right in their 5-0 win over Sevilla.
Killing the game in the first half
Sevilla were not in good form coming into this one. The last win for Vincenzo Montella’s side came a month ago against Manchester United. Barcelona needed a fine start to put up the pressure on Sevilla with an early goal being the demand of the hour.
Luis Suarez provided exactly that after some great work by Jasper Cillessen and Philippe Coutinho. The goal removed the sting from Sevilla’s press and from that moment, it was all one-way traffic for Ernesto Valverde’s men. Iniesta and Alba combined brilliantly on the left flank to assist Lionel Messi for the second blow to Sevilla.
A 2-0 scoreline still gave some hope to Sevilla which was soon eradicated by a stunning through ball from Messi. Luis Suarez was through on goal, scoring his second and Barcelona’s third. With that goal, Barcelona ended Sevilla’s hopes of toppling the Catalans as they effectively won the final in the first 45 minutes itself.
Dominating Sevilla’s midfield
Sevilla’s biggest strength can be said as their solid and effective midfield. The physicality of Steven N’Zonzi along with the creativity of Ever Banega make Sevilla a threatening unit against any opponent.
FC Barcelona needed to have a plan to get the better of these two which was the case courtesy of a strong showing from Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic. The two performed brilliantly on the night with their off the ball work helping their side in retaining the ball in crucial positions.
Banega was not afforded much time on the ball and N’Zonzi was too slow to react at times while defending. Andres Iniesta also played a crucial role in nullifying Sevilla’s midfield threat as his work in the No. 10 role created a huge number of chances for Barcelona.
Barcelona’s combinational play was spot on
A look at yesterday’s performance from FC Barcelona would make you wonder and scratch your head in shock as to how this side can fare so poorly against AS Roma and on the other day, put Sevilla to the sword with a stunning display of attacking football.
This was Barcelona’s finest performance of the season and fortunately for Ernesto Valverde, Messi and Co. saved it for a big occasion. And the best thing about their victory was the vintage combinational play that has earned them rave reviews in the past decade or so.
From Coutinho’s delayed pass for the first goal to Iniesta’s through ball and Alba’s backheel for Messi to score the second – every Barcelona goal had a brilliant play behind it. It was Messi’s defence-splitting through ball for the third and a one-two between Iniesta and Messi that saw the Catalans score the fourth on the night.
For the fifth goal, a deft touch from Luis Suarez earned Barcelona a penalty which was otherwise slotted in by Philippe Coutinho on the follow-up.
All in all, FC Barcelona’s attack was too good for Sevilla to handle as Barcelona rolled back the years with a staggering attacking display.