A Lionel Messi masterclass helped seal a closely contested Copa Del Rey final as the La Liga champions prevailed over Sevilla.
The Vicente Calderon played host to an exhilarating cup-final between Barcelona and Sevilla as both the sides looked to win a second trophy in what has been an impressive season for the two Spanish heavyweights. Early on in the season, the UEFA Super Cup was the back-drop to a nine goal thriller that Luis Enrique’s men prevailed over Unai Emery’s side in a game that ended 5-4.
This time around, there were a lot less goals in a game cluttered with more fouls and suspensions than goal-mouth action. With Mascherano sent off early in the first half and Luis Suarez hauled off due to a hamstring injury, the onus was on Unai Emery’s men to take home their second cup success in under a week. However, a strong defensive performance from Gerard Pique on the night kept the game alive for Barcelona amidst a flurry of attacks from Sevilla towards the end of normal time. The initiative was with Sevilla but in what proved to be the turning point in the match, Ever Banega was sent off for a sloppy challenge on Neymar who was set through on goal by Iniesta.
A physically and mentally tired Sevilla quite never recovered from that set back as Barcelona took the lead in the 97th minute through a Jordi Alba strike. The left-back latched onto a peach of a long pass from Messi and slotted the ball past Sergio Rico who did really well fending off Catalan attacks till then. The game was sealed later on in the 122nd minute as Barcelona doubled their advantage through Neymar however not before Daniel Carrico was shown two yellow cards for a foul and for showing dissent at the referee’s decision. It was a heart-breaking evening for Unai Emery’s men who have had a remarkable cup run and had the prospects of a cup-double snatched from right under their noses by Barcelona who have now triumphed in 28 out of their last 38 finals.