Copa Del Rey Final: Barca Turn on the Style as Iniesta Bids Farewell5 min read
Rout represents record Copa final winning margin
It’s hard to remember a more comprehensive victory in any cup final anywhere than Barcelona’s against Sevilla on Saturday night. In fact, Barca’s 30th Copa del Rey title equals the widest margin of victory in a Spanish Cup final.
The previous best came in 1980 when Real Madrid beat… Real Madrid. Yes you’ve read that correctly. Castilla, Real’s reserve side, got all the way to the final only to be hammered by their first team! Athletic Club also triumphed 5-0 over Espanyol way back in 1915.
As then, the Blaugrana were devastating from the first whistle, and their pass and move reminiscent of Pep Guardiola’s swashbuckling 2008/09 side.
Sevilla didn’t help themselves mind. Inexplicably, Vincenzo Montella once again left his best striker, Wissam Ben Yedder, on the bench. Not that it would’ve made too much difference in the end, in truth.
Fitting finale for Iniesta
Barca had the bit between their teeth and didn’t allow the Andalusians to build any momentum whatsoever. Any fleeting chances were soon snuffed out, with defence turned into attack almost at will.
Every player had the game of his life and none more so than Andres Iniesta, playing in what’s expected to be his last ever final before heading to China and his footballing swansong.
His was probably the sweetest goal of the five, though finesse was most definitely missing with their first.
Kudos to Jasper Cillessen for quickly seeing the possibilities, however. With Sevilla’s defence playing a calamitous high line, the Dutchman simply put his foot through the ball and dropped it on a plate for Philippe Coutinho to set up Luis Suarez.
Route one? Maybe, but nobody at the Barca end was complaining.
Barca maestros worked their magic
Number two was straight from the training ground and yet another Jordi Alba-Lionel Messi connection.
The inventiveness by the left-back to engineer a chance from a position whereby he was about to be forced out of play was magical, and Messi’s awareness to expect the ball to fall exactly where he positioned himself speaks volumes for the work that is done behind the scenes.
If it were possible, Messi’s pass into Luis Suarez for the third was even more sublime. With Coutinho wide open and in space, that was the ball to play, but Messi instead chose to thread an eye-of-the-needle pass between three defenders and with just the right weight to ensure the Uruguayan didn’t need to break stride.
The game was already up for Sevilla by that point and well they knew it. It then became a match of ‘how many can Barca score?’
A penalty for the fifth ended the scoring for Valverde’s men, but had the Catalans added another one or two, it would’ve been fully deserved.
As the clock wound down, Iniesta was brought off to universal acclaim. Clearly choked with emotion, Don Andres applauded the whole stadium, with Sevilla fans, to their credit, also on their feet in appreciation of what the midfielder has done for Spain throughout his career.
All that remained was for him to lift the trophy, all alone on the podium.
In itself it was an iconic moment for a final that will live long in the memory.