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Messi fires Barca to Cup remaining win over Athletic Bilbao

SEVILLE, Spain (Reuters) – Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona thrashed Athletic Bilbao 4-0 within the Copa del Rey remaining on Saturday to win the trophy for a record-extending thirty first time with all of the objectives coming within the final half an hour.

Antoine Griezmann put a dominant Barca aspect forward on the hour when he turned in a cross from Frenkie de Jong, who doubled the Catalans’ lead three minutes later.

Messi suffered some tough tackles from Athletic however acquired his revenge with a spectacular aim within the 68th, tearing his method by the defence down the appropriate wing and mixing with De Jong earlier than dancing round one other defender to fit house.

Barca’s captain struck once more 4 minutes later in his tenth Copa remaining when he met a low cross from Jordi Alba and fired the ball into the underside nook, his shot proving too highly effective for Athletic keeper Unai Simon.

Griezmann thought he had grabbed Barca’s fifth aim in added time however his effort was dominated offside after a VAR evaluation.

“It’s totally particular to raise this Cup as captain of this membership, it is a very joyful day for this group,” stated Messi.

“We knew Athletic would play as they did and we needed to be affected person with the ball and attempt to create house. We had been throughout them within the first half and within the second they dropped off.”

The Argentine hoisted the trophy for a seventh time whereas Dutch coach Ronald Koeman earned his first piece of silverware as Barca coach so as to add to the glut of honours he received as a participant with the the membership, together with a Copa triumph in 1990.

Koeman additionally received the Copa answerable for Valencia in 2008.


There was a powerful sense of deja vu for Athletic, who’ve now misplaced 4 Copa finals to Barca since 2009, with Messi scoring every time.

The Basques have misplaced their final six appearances within the remaining and solely two weeks in the past had been crushed 1-0 by Actual Sociedad within the rescheduled 2020 showpiece, which was additionally performed at an empty La Cartuja stadium in Seville.

“This can be a very robust second for us,” stated Athletic left-back Mikel Balenziaga.

“We had been actually wanting ahead to the sport however they had been superior from the primary half. We managed to outlive that however then we misplaced focus and so they had been a lot better than us and we had no likelihood.”

Barca had been hurting from final week’s 2-1 La Liga loss to title rivals Actual Madrid however took the initiative with 79% of possession within the first half and nearly went forward when De Jong struck the submit, with Messi later smashing a shot simply vast.

Athletic had crushed Barca 2-1 after additional time in January’s Spanish Tremendous Cup remaining however confirmed little ambition right here and had just one try within the first half, when defender Inigo Martinez prodded simply vast of the close to submit following a free kick.

Athletic keeper Simon pulled off three spectacular saves in fast succession early within the opening interval, utilizing his left leg to thwart Griezmann after which Sergio Busquets from point-blank vary whereas additionally holding out a pushed shot from Pedri.

Griezmann lastly acquired the higher of Simon to interrupt the impasse and as soon as Barca had been forward they confirmed no mercy.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; modifying by Clare Fallon and Ken Ferris)

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