Goals from Ousmane Dembele and Gerard Pique before an extra time strike from Martin Braithwaite overturned a 2-0 first leg deficit to put Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final, with a 3-2 aggregate win over Sevilla.
La Blaugrana dominated the first half and, as they needed to, shot out of the blocks. It took Ronald Koeman’s side just 12 minutes to open the scoring when Dembele fired a stunner from around 20 yards out into the top corner after the ball broke his way.
The hosts continued to press for the all important second after the interval, but things looked bleak after 72 minutes as the referee awarded a very soft penalty when Oscar Mingueza was adjudged to have fouled Lucas Ocampos in the area. The Argentine stepped up and had his spot kick brilliantly saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, though.
La Blaugrana threw the kitchen sink (and any other other fitting you can think of) for the remainder of the game and, after Sevilla’s Fernando saw red in the last minutes of the game, Pique levelled the tie with a deft header from an Antoine Griezmann cross in the 94th minute to take the game to extra time.
Koeman’s side wasted no time and, after just five minutes of extra time, made it 3-0. Jordi Alba’s cross was met by the head of substitute Braithwaite, who found the back of the net through the legs of Tomas Vaclik. Barca held on for their second win over Sevilla in the space of five days to secure their place in the Cope del Rey final.
Phew, now let’s get to the Barcelona player ratings…
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – 9/10 – Was the hero of the hour as he saved and held onto Ocampos’ penalty to keep the score 1-0. Did everything he was tasked with to perfection – no mucking around.
Oscar Mingueza (CB) – 7/10 – Had a good game on the right of the back three. Very composed, making several brilliant interceptions as Sevilla broke out while also playing a couple of forward balls that found their way through the visitors’ defensive lines. Conceded a penalty, but it was a poor decision from the referee more than anything.
Gerard Pique (CB) – 9/10 – A classic performance from the veteran. Always on hand to cover for either of his centre back colleagues and commanded the back line with his usual assurance. Dramatically grabbed Barca’s second in the 94th minute.
Clement Lenglet (CB) – 6/10 – Had a tough job against the pace and trickery down Sevilla’s right, but did well to nullify the threat when Jordi Alba was caught upfield.
Sergino Dest (RWB) – 5/10 – Absolutely tireless but struggled to get the better of Marcos Acuna down the right and often relied on teammates covering him on the defensive. Hooked off after an hour.
Frenkie de Jong (CM) – 7/10 – Made some effortlessly lovely touches in midfield to get his side up the pitch, as well as driving and surging into the final third to support attacks.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – 6/10 – Played a couple of excellent through balls in the first 45, before bizarrely seeming to avoid any sort of searching pass after the break. Did well as the screen to the defence, however, crucially breaking down a couple of counters.
Pedri (CM) – 6/10 – Was dogged in midfield, constantly making a nuisance of himself. Despite some good phases and attacking touches on the ball, the youngster couldn’t find a cutting edge to impact the game.
Jordi Alba (LWB) – 8/10 – Fantastic energy down the left. Constantly pressed and won the ball high up the field, as well as contributing well to Barcelona’s attack – including a ferocious volley that cannoned off the bar at 1-0 and the assist for the winner.
Ousmane Dembele (ST) – 8/10 – Showed fantastic work rate with his pressing and tracking back, while also looking sharp and dangerous on the ball. Deservedly got on the scoresheet.
Lionel Messi (ST) – 7/10 – Started to pull the strings with quick fire passing and picking out pockets of space in the final third. Was unlucky to see a chipped effort cleared off the line but was a key creator for his side as they got desperate in the second half.
Antoine Griezmann (ST) – 8/10 – Added quality to Barcelona’s forward line with his link up play and movement, and crossed brilliantly for Pique’s late goal.
Junior Firpo (RB) – 6/10
Ilaix Moriba (CM) – 6/10
Martin Braithwaite (ST) – 7/10 – Headed well from Alba’s cross to secure his side’s passage to the final.
Francisco Trincao (RW) – 6/10