Barcelona were at their ruthless best as Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi inspired a crushing 5-0 win over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final, with Andres Iniesta capping what is expected to be his last final in Spanish football with a fine goal.
Spain and Barca icon Iniesta is reportedly set to depart for a Chinese Super League side at the end of the season and he rolled back the years with an excellent individual display, while Suarez and Messi led from the front in an emphatic triumph to give Ernesto Valverde his first trophy at the club.
It took less than a quarter of an hour for Barca to break the deadlock through Suarez, rounding off a route-one move.
They ultimately went into the break 3-0 up, as Messi fired home and then set up the lethal Suarez for his second, as Sevilla were left looking at a damage limitation job.
5 - Luis Suarez has scored in all the finals he has played for Barcelona in all competitions (Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, Supercopa and Copa del Rey). Predatory. pic.twitter.com/dQP8MT1cWd— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 21, 2018
And things got worse for them early in the second half. Iniesta, who had earlier hit the crossbar, finished off a brilliant move with a smart finish to mark a momentous occasion in fitting style.
Philippe Coutinho then got in on the act, converting a penalty to add gloss to a remarkable evening for Valverde's five-star Barca, who are closing in on a domestic double.
Having seemingly learnt the lesson of their slow start against Sevilla in last month's 2-2 draw in LaLiga, there was nothing slack about Barca this time around, as they quickly suffocated the Andalusians.
As such, there was more than a hint of inevitability about their opening goal in the 14th minute.
Spotting Sevilla's defence playing a high line, Jasper Cillessen drilled a long pass over the top for Coutinho to run on to and he squared across the face of goal for Suarez to knock home.
Sevilla responded fairly well, but Barca remained on top and nearly got a second when Iniesta struck the crossbar with a left-footed drive from just outside the area.
They did not have to wait much longer, however, as Jordi Alba cut the ball back to Messi with a clever backheel just after the half-hour mark and the Argentina star emphatically smashed home.
It got even uglier for Sevilla just prior to the break – Messi played a perfectly weighted pass through for Suarez to latch on to and the Uruguayan clinically fired past the helpless David Soria.
Barca started the second half rather more relaxed, though they soon clicked back into gear and opened up a four-goal lead.
Iniesta robbed Ever Banega of possession before exchanging passes with Messi on the edge of the area, rounding Soria and finding the net from a tight angle.
Former Barca youngster Sandro Ramirez provided a little extra spark in the Sevilla attack after his half-time introduction and should have got a consolation in the 64th minute, but after a lungbusting run he shot straight at Cillessen.
Clement Lenglet, who has been tipped to join Barca for next season, then handled in the penalty area with 21 minutes to go and Coutinho coolly slotted home the resulting spot-kick.
The Barca support were given one last reason to cheer as they gave the substituted Iniesta a standing ovation as he left the pitch, with their Sevilla counterparts joining in as the Wanda Metropolitano showed its appreciation for one of the greatest midfielders of recent times.
Key Opta stats:
- Barcelona have won the Copa del Rey 30 times, at least seven more than any other team in the competition (Athletic Club, 23).
- Lionel Messi is the second player in Copa del Rey history to score in five different finals (six goals). The first player to achieve this feat was Telmo Zarra between 1942 and 1950 (eight goals).
- Barca have won the Copa del Rey for the fourth year in a row – it is the first time in their history they have won the competition in four consecutive seasons. Indeed, Barcelona have become the first team to win it four times consecutively since 1933 (Athletic Club, four titles between 1930 and 1933).
- Andres Iniesta has scored in a Copa del Rey final for the first time ever. Besides, it is his second goal in a final for Barcelona, after 2011 vs Real Madrid in Supercopa.
- Luis Suarez has now scored in all the finals he has played for Barcelona in all competitions (Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, Supercopa and Copa del Rey).
15 de diciembre 2018
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Van Dijk the rock on which Klopp can build a title triumph|
|Marcelo ´never´ considered Madrid exit amid Juventus links|
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Resurgent Rashford now a leader for Mourinho|
|Injury-plagued Nuggets beat Thunder to hold Western Conference lead|
|Southee takes five as Sri Lanka recover in Wellington|
|Kings troll Curry by playing clips of moon landing|
|Guardiola: Premier League title race similar to Barca-Madrid battles|
|Ovechkin joins rare NHL club with second straight hat-trick|
|Liverpool can´t be judged just on trophies – Klopp responds to Mourinho|
|Athletics´ Chapman undergoes procedure on left shoulder|
|Marcelo: Real Madrid miss Ronaldo|
|Ronaldo right about Juventus team spirit – Allegri|
|Klopp: I´m not the pope of football tactics|
|Stade beat Ospreys on emotional Chauvin tribute night|
|Ligue 1 survival bid a marathon not a sprint for Monaco, as club appoints distance runner|
14 de diciembre 2018
|Vertonghen eyeing Spurs future beyond 2020|
|De Bruyne injuries could be a blessing for City, says Guardiola|
|Emery prepared to face Arsenal´s centre-back crisis|
|Ulster complete Scarlets double, Exeter gain Gloucester revenge|
|Sheffield United 1 West Brom 2: Baggies comeback boosts automatic promotion push|
|Del Potro back on court following knee injury|
|Canelo v Fielding: Rocky ready to write his own fairytale in New York|
|Boca part company with Schelotto after Copa Libertadores loss to River|
|Canelo v Fielding: Tale of the tape|
|Juventus defender Cancelo has knee surgery|
|Canelo v Fielding: Alvarez and Rocky make weight in New York|
|Spalletti does not fear another mid-season crisis at Inter|
|Salah headlines CAF Player of the Year shortlist as Koulibaly misses out|
|Beckham Jr. out of Titans clash|
|Lipsky hits the front at Leopard Creek|
|Pederson coy over Wentz back injury|
|Liverpool ´not really likely´ to be active in January window, reveals Klopp|
|Always on the move and unpredictable - Pavard reveals surprising choice over toughest opponent|
|We need to get back to respect - Lampard alarmed by hate in football|
|Giles returns to England to replace Strauss as director|
|Hansen has no issue with Milner-Skudder Toulon switch|
|Juventus to rest Ronaldo after Torino showdown|
|Titmus strikes gold again as world records tumble in Hangzhou|
|Malinga to captain Sri Lanka in New Zealand|
|Rivaldo would like ´excellent´ Isco at Barcelona|
|United a long way from Mourinho´s vision|
|´Klopp denies an answer!´ - Liverpool boss dismisses questions about ´world-class´ Pogba|
|Returning Nowitzki ´so tired´ after making NBA history|
|Aguero and De Bruyne in contention for Manchester City v Everton|
|Simeone has no plans to cash in on Costa|
|Canelo v Fielding: Alvarez´s greatest nights|
|Fabregas: Chelsea being unfairly scapegoated over racism allegations|
|Crisis? What crisis? Klopp focuses on defensive solutions for United clash|
|Hope cannot inspire Windies as Bangladesh cruise to series win|
|Benitez picks up Premier League Manager of the Month award|
|Chavez, Marquez and Canelo - Mexico´s greatest multi-weight world champions|
|Bale set to miss Real Madrid v Rayo Vallecano|
|Robben out until January as Bayern look to avoid serious injury|
|Milan avoid UEFA ban in FFP punishments.|
|Mourinho compares Liverpool to ´an amazing house´ but insists trophies matter|
|Brisbane Roar 2 Melbourne Victory 4: Muscat´s men hit A-League summit|
|Bumrah confident second Test is ´in the balance´ after India recovery|
|Isco gesture was for a corner or foul, claims Solari|
|Harris leads Australia into ascendancy on day one|
|ATP announces candidates to host future Finals|
|Ronaldo: Juventus fans refuse to lose to Torino|
|Hero Rivers feared he had cost Chargers in KC|
|Williams would welcome Llorente back to Athletic Bilbao|
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Minding the gap|
|Milan elimination unjust, fumes Leonardo|
|Paul hails ´sick´ Harden after record-breaking display|
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Salah, Mane and Firmino v Rashford, Martial and Lukaku in Opta number|
|Canelo open to GGG trilogy as he chases place in Mexican history|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|Harden posts record fourth 50-point triple-double in win over Lakers|