Marcelino’s team lasted for an hour, then collapsed under the blows of Leo (double and 35th title won), Griezmann and De Jong
An evening to be framed for Messi and company, who overwhelm Athletic Bilbao by winning the 31st King’s Cup thanks to one of the most convincing performances since the arrival of Koeman. Who, just to appreciate, takes immediate revenge after the defeat in the Super Cup by celebrating his first trophy on the blaugrana bench. For Messi, protagonist of a double, there is also a new record, that of the highest number of titles won in Catalonia (35). Barça once again reiterates the special feeling with a tournament won for the sixth time in the last ten years. On the contrary, the Basques swallow a double bitter mouthful of historic significance, losing the second final in two weeks, as well as the sixth consecutive since their last triumph in 1984.
Marcelino makes do with what he has, without daring anything new with respect to the most anticipated script: low defense and long ball to trigger Raul Garcia and especially Williams. In addition, the Basque coach relies on Muniain’s experience to act on the left. The lineup drawn by Koeman is more surprising, because Griezmann wins the ballot against a Dembélé in great shape and behind is Piqué, who forces the recovery after having already lost the Clasico. The failure to call Pjanic, in the stands and increasingly at the bottom of the hierarchy of the Dutch coach, is especially remarkable.
Little to do for the Basques, you understand after a few minutes. Barça soon stretches its hypnotic web of passes, hides the ball from the opponent and builds effective spaces to test Unai Simon. The first half hour is overwhelming at times, thanks to the precise plots built by Busquets, Messi, De Jong and the effective cuts by Dest and Alba on the outside. The Catalans launch a first blast as early as 5 ‘with a post full of De Jong served in tow by the Pulce, then the Basques still tremble over a left from Dest and a quick one-two between Messi and Griezmann. The pressure on the rojiblanca defense increases further at the start of the second half, when Messi, Griezmann, Pedri and Busquets collide in rapid succession against Unai Simon’s reflexes. But the Basque fort capitulates after an exact hour of resistance: movement between the lines of Messi, a deep subjection for De Jong, a precise low center for Griezmann and a winning deviation. Once the chest was unhinged, the Catalans took advantage of the opponent’s decline by exploiting once again the amplitude with Jordi Alba, the rest is the work of the resourcefulness of a De Jong tonight a notch above all.
Barça seals the excessive power exhibited from the beginning with a double by Messi, which closes the speech with two precise claims between 68 ‘and 72’, reaching 56 ° centers in the cup at the end of another evening to remember for plays and presence on the field. La Pulce puts the signature on the 36th title in Blaugrana, another record snatched from Xavi, and (together with Busquets and Piqué) hooks Pirù Gainza with 7 cups on the showcase. Waiting to dissolve the reservations about the future, the Argentine sends a strong message to the Blaugrana people by giving himself another memorable evening.
April 17 – 11:32 pm
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