Barcelona emerged victorious yesterday, winning her 28th Copa del Rey title after a 120 minutes battle with Sevilla at the Vicente Calderon Stadium in Madrid. The match which ended 2-0 in favour of the Catalans, gave the 10-man team an opportunity to win a double this season under the guidance of Luis Enrique.
Barcelona experienced one of her most difficult title in the match, as Mascherano was given a straight red card after 35 minutes of play, leaving a ten-man Barca to struggle and play for the ball with the scoreline still left at 0-0 as at half-time. Barca were one man down and played for 65 minutes of absorbing pressure from Sevilla before Banega relieved the Catalans by getting his fair share of the red in injury time of play in second half.
The defense line of Barcelona led by Gerrard Pique were cautious, alert and purposeful with the ball, knowing full well the implications of playing with one-man down and avoiding any situation that could lead to defensive error. Pique blocked several goal-bound shots in the 18-yard box, and adopted a style of holding on to the ball from the defense rather than wasting the ball by playing it wild away.
Sevilla were less experienced on the big stage, as it was very obvious that when the game entered 70 minutes without them securing a goal, they played under pressure. Struggling even with a full team to find the back of the net which they eventually did not do for the whole of the 120 minutes. More so, Sevilla could not compel the Barca’s defense to get a penalty as they found them selves going for counter-attack and set-pieces that did not pay off for them.
Sevilla had a ball possession of 52 % while Barca 48 %, but it was Barca who recorded more shots on goal, more shots on target, more corner-kicks and less fouls. Clearly showing that Sevilla were no match for the Catalans.
Andres Iniesta proved his worth in the midfield, as he dragged Barca out of difficult situations through world-class dribbling and a confidence ball-possession that turned things around for the team. Making them play as though it was a complete team. Lionel Messi was fouled severally while trying to make his triumphant moves into the attack of Sevilla bearing in mind that Suarez was out after developing what was suspected to be arm-string injury.
If there is any title Luis Enrique will have to celebrate most while in charge of Barcelona, it is certainly this title as there, were lots of pressure and uncertainties on his side’s victory against a Sevilla that had conquered the Europa League cup on three consecutive occasions.