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Copa del Rey 2021 De Jong leads Barcelona to crown with perfect.10 .

Athletic Club vs Barcelona

Copa del Rey 2021 De Jong leads Barcelona to crown with perfect.10 .

Copa del Rey Copa del Rey leads to Barcelona perfect-10 Jong with De … crown

Sat, 17 Apr 2021 09:00:00 -0700

Frenkie de Jong created two goals and scored one of his own as Barcelona were peerless in a 4-0 Copa del Rey final win over Athletic Bilbao

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Lionel Messi’s double puts the finishing touches on a 4-0 win for Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final.

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Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao 4-0 on Saturday at La Cartuja in Seville to win the Copa del Rey and secure their first trophy under coach Ronald Koeman.

Lionel Messi scored twice and Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong were also on target as Barca won their first piece of silverware since 2019 and lifted the Spanish cup for a record-extending 31st time.

All four goals arrived in 12 second-half minutes after De Jong set up Griezmann for the opener on the hour mark.

De Jong then stooped low to head home a Jordi Alba cross before linking with Messi to create the third.

Messi completed the scoring in the 72nd minute, sweeping home another Alba cross.

The result saw Athletic beaten in a Copa del Rey final for the second time this month, having lost the long-delayed 2020 final to Real Sociedad on April 3.

Barca endured a trophy-less season last time out — their first since 2007-08 — and hadn’t won anything since the 2018-19 league title.

Since then, they have lost a Copa del Rey final to Valencia and the Spanish Supercopa final to Athletic earlier this year.

This win, therefore, served as revenge for that defeat, but was also a hugely important win for Koeman.

The Dutch coach has been criticised for Barca’s failure to compete in big games, with that Supercopa defeat paired with Clasico losses and a Champions League exit.

He will hope this win serves to silence the doubters and as a timely morale boost for the title run-in in La Liga.

Barca are just two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with eight games to play.

A domestic double is a very real prospect.

Copa success will also have been sweet for the likes of Griezmann, De Jong, Pedri and Oscar Mingueza, among others, who had never previously won a trophy with the Catalan club.

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It’s hard to be critical of that performance, although Barca were not clinical in a first half they dominated.

Zooming out, there are questions to answer about the futures of Miralem Pjanic and Riqui Puig.

Neither player made the bench for the final.

8 — Koeman opted to stick with a back three and brought Griezmann and Gerard Pique into the side following last weekend’s Clasico defeat to Real Madrid.

Barca were on top from the first minute to the last.

GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 7 — Barca’s dominance meant he had little to do but was good with his feet, except for one first-half mistake.

DF Oscar Mingueza, 7 — Another assured performance caps an incredible season for the academy graduate, who has come from nowhere to make himself a regular in Koeman’s side.

DF Gerard Pique, 8 — Returned from a knee injury to produce a composed and commanding performance at the back.

DF Clement Lenglet, 7 — Has improved a lot in the past two months and looks much more confident than he did earlier in the season.

MF Sergino Dest, 7 — Got forward well and created one great chance for Griezmann.

MF Frenkie de Jong, 10 — Was everywhere.

Hit the post in the first half, set up two of the four goals and scored one of his own.

Also popped up in defence to make blocks and interceptions and controlled the game from midfield.

Imperious.

MF Sergio Busquets, 8 — Swarmed all over Athletic when Barca lost the ball and used it well, passing creatively through the lines.

MF Pedri, 7 — Brilliant pressing throughout the game and useful with the ball.

Almost scored, but saw his shot tipped wide by Unai Simon.

MF Jordi Alba, 8 — Loves the freedom he gets playing as a wing-back and got forward to create two of the goals.

FW Lionel Messi, 9 — Scored a brilliant first goal, playing two one-twos with De Jong, before beating Simon inside the box.

Added another, too, but even without the goals, he was a menace all night.

FW Antoine Griezmann, 8 — Missed a good chance to open the scoring before scoring a similar opportunity minutes later.

Linked the team well in attack and worked hard off the ball.

MF Sergi Roberto, 6 — Came on for Dest once Barca had motored away from Athletic.

MF Ilaix Moriba, N/R — Only given the final few minutes but the 18-year-old will treasure them as he won his first trophy with Barca.

DF Ronald Araujo, N/R — Like Ilaix, will have appreciated the time on the pitch as Barca won the cup.

FW Martin Braithwaite, N/R — The semifinal hero only came on for the final three minutes.

FW Ousmane Dembele, N/R — A fitness issue confined him to the bench, but Koeman still handed him the last few minutes.

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Copa del Rey Copa del Rey

Sat, 17 Apr 2021 09:00:00 -0700

Entering the match, both teams are heading in opposite directions

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Barca, aside from the loss in last weekend's El Clasico, have been fantastic, looking to win the 

The 2020-21 Copa del Rey champion will be decided on Saturday when Barcelona meet Athletic Bilbao in Sevilla.

Entering the match, both teams are heading in opposite directions.

Barca, aside from the loss in last weekend’s El Clasico, have been fantastic, looking to win the double to end the season.

On the other side, Bilbao have failed to win any of their last six games but can validate their season with a trophy.

Here’s how you can watch the match and what to know:

Barcelona: Here is an opportunity for a major trophy, a top priority, and also some serious momentum heading into the stretch run in La Liga.

Due to recent form, Barcelona should feel convinced that they will win.

But, they have to show it.

Barca have to remain disciplined in the final third, knowing Athletic have the potential to really hurt them on set pieces.

If the attack can just keep its recent pace of creating chances, they’ll be able to win this one, though it will be close. 

Craving even more coverage of the world’s game? Listen below and follow ¡Qué Golazo! A Daily CBS Soccer Podcast where we take you beyond the pitch and around the globe for commentary, previews, recaps and more. 

Athletic Bilbao: It’s a really interesting situation for Athletic.  On April 3, they played in the 2019-20 Copa del Rey final after it was postponed due to the initial outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

So they just made that game up against rival Real Sociedad, losing the cup final 1-0.

Now they have another chance at a major trophy, and they’ll feel good about their prospects of beating Barcelona.

That’s because Athletic beat Barca in January in the Spanish Super Cup.

Expect Marcelino to have his team prioritize defending, sit very deep and aim to go on the counter.

Lionel Messi picks out the top corner in the second half on a free kick for what ends up being the winning goal. Pick: Barcelona 2, Athletic Bilbao 1

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– April 17, 2021
Athletic Club vs Barcelona