Ahead of Barcelona’s second big clash in the Nou Camp, we take a look back at the Catalans’ 5-0 mauling of their Andalusian counterparts in the final of the 2018 Copa Del Rey.
Having suffered a humiliating exit at the hands of AS Roma in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League, the 2018 Copa De Rey final presented itself as an opportunity for the Catalans to recover some lost honour. The Catalans were playing their fifth successive cup final and were on course for a 4th consecutive triumph, a feat that last was achieved by Athletic Club in 1963.
Their opponents in Sevilla wanted to salvage what had been for them a sub-par season. They hadn’t won a single match since the 13th of March and this, a potential cup triumph over the best team in the country, would have been more than enough to make amends for their season.
This game was club legend Andres Iniesta’s last final appearance for the club as the veteran midfielder announced his departure from the club in late January. This was his 670th appearance as well as his15th final for the club. In this period he had won 30 trophies already and was en route to yet another crowning in the claret and blue of Barcelona.
Road to the final
Round of 32 – 7-0 Cartagena
Round of 16 – 4-1 Cadiz
Quarterfinal – 5-2 Aletico de Madrid
Semifinal – 3-1 Leganes
Round of 32 – 8-0 Murcia
Round of 16 – 6-1 Celta Vigo
Quarterfinal – 2-1 Espanyol
Semifinal – 3-0 Valencia
J. Navas – G. Mercado – Lenglet – Escudero
N’Zonzi – E. Banea
P. Sarabia – F. Vasquez – J. Correa
Semedo – Pique – Umtiti – Jordi Alba
Coutinho – Busquets – Rakitic – Iniesta
Messi – Suarez
The defending champions signalled their intent from early on. Sergio Busquets played a through ball into Lionel Messi’s path but given the weight on the ball, David Soria made an easy clearance. The Argentine then drew a foul and the subsequent freekick, though beautifully taken, was palmed away by the keeper.
Soria would eventually be beaten and to the shock of the supporters in the Wanda Metropolitano, his opposite number had a massive involvement in its build up. From a goal kick,Jasper Cillessen fiercely struck the ball along the length of the pitch and found Philippe Coutinho in space. With the keeper out of place, the Brazilian then played in a cross to his South American counterpart Luis Suarez for an easy tap in.
Sevilla attempted to respond to this through an attack of their own but Jesus Navas’ low cross went right across the face of goal. The man of the hour Andres Iniesta took a shot at goal but his left footed thunderbolt struck the crossbar and was subsequently cleared away.
Sixteen minutes after their opener, Barcelona found their second of the evening and punished Sevilla for their missed chances. Iniesta played a through ball into Jordi Alba’s path. From the byline, the Spaniard then made a cutback into Messi’s path and Messi doubled the lead, scoring his 30th goal against his favourite victim. He then turned provider five just minutes before the end of the half. Having spotted Suarez’ forward run, he lacerated the opposition defence and the Uruguayan capped off the move with a cool finish underneath the keeper to seal his brace and take the Blaugranas’ tally to 3-0.
Halftime: Barcelona 3-0 Sevilla
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
Rather than play in the conservative manner they had become infamous for in the second halves of some matches, Barcelona maintained their high tempo and went full throttle as soon as the referee blew his whistle.
Iniesta and Messi combined once again to widen the already enormous gap between themselves and their rivals. Like a surgeon with his scalpel, Messi cut open the Andalusians’ defence with a through ball towards the Spaniard. He then went past Soria and on a tight angle, struck the ball home to make it 4-0 on the night.
Sevilla at this point were counting the minutes to the end of the match but just when they thought that things couldn’t get any worse, they did. Suarez and Coutinho combined once more but the Uruguayan’s side footed chip struck Clement Lenglet’s arm. Coutinho did score but it was ruled out and a penalty was awarded. Rather than complete his brace, Lionel Messi passed up the opportunity and gave his penalty to the Brazilian who scored his first and Barca’s fifth of the night to complete the rout.
In the 88th minute of the match, Iniesta was subbed off and gave his armband to Messi, entrusting him with the stewardship of the team. For all he had done for Spanish football as a whole, he received a standing ovation from both sets of fans. He was awarded as man of the match, a fitting end to the final chapter of his Barcelona career.
A glorious display of football, five great goals, and a beautiful trophy to cap it off, this was one night that no supporters from either camp will forget any time soon.
The Rewind: Dynamo Kyiv 1-2 Barcelona, 2009/10
As Barcelona prepare themselves to face Dynamo Kyiv in the fourth Matchday of the UEFA Champions League, join us as we reminisce the Catalans’ last away victory over the Ukrainians back in the 2009-10 season in this episode of The Rewind.
While the 0-4 loss in the Camp Nou from the late 20th century had a more profound impact in the hearts and minds of both camps of supporters, the Blaugranas’ 1-2 away victory over the Ukrainians was a slightly less memorable result, but memorable nonetheless as the defending European champions came from behind to secure a late victory.
The possibility of Barcelona not making it to the knockout stages was very much a reality, the odds of it happening were rather slim. The Catalans would not only need to lose to their Ukrainian – Dynamo Kyiv – counterparts by two or more goals, but they would also require a win from either one of Rubin Kazan or Inter Milan to crash out of the competition.
Eremenko · Yussuf · Betão · Magrão
Leandro Almeida · Mikhalik · Vukojević
Shevchenko · Yarmolenko · Milevskiy
Dani Alves · Piqué · Puyol · Abidal
Xavi · Busquets · Keita
Messi · Ibrahimović · Iniesta
The odds were indeed in their favour, however, it did not exactly translate to a guarantee and this much the men in Garnet and Blue learnt just 120 seconds into the encounter.
Following a sumptuous cross from Andriy Shevchenko via a free-kick, Artem Milevskiy connected with the ball, squeezing the ball past Victor Valdes’ gloves and into the back of the net to open the scoring. In and of itself the goal was far from what one would call picture-esque. This mattered little to the hounds of eccentric Dynamo supporters, though. They wanted the lead, they wanted a round of 16 spot, and they were halfway there right from the get-go.
Barcelona’s patience and persistence paid off eventually as in the 33rd minute, the visitors did draw level. Following some of the intricate passing synonymous with the Pep era, Xavi Hernández’ capped off what was a truly remarkable move as he tapped the ball home from Eric Abidal’s cutback.
Xavi got the scores to level pegging. (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP)
One might argue that Barça should have already been through with the game given the sheer dominance they had asserted over their hosts, but fine margins such as those were the determining factor in that match.
Such was the unpredictability of the game as a whole as despite being on the back-foot for most of the opening 45 minutes, the hosts almost went into the break back in the lead. They played primarily on the counter-attack and if not for a Gerard Piqué last gasp block, Barça would have — undeservedly — ended the half a goal down.
Half Time: Dynamo Kyiv 1-1 Barcelona
The second period began just as the first ended, with Kyiv on the break. Shevchenko was once again the catalyst of the action, however, his delicately whipped cross was poorly met by Leandro, whose headed effort went over the bar and out for a goal kick.
Given the context of the match, Barcelona were more than content with hogging the ball for as long as they would like as either one of a draw or a loss by one goal would be enough to see them through to the next round of the Champions League. A crude mix of the impending stress of falling at the hands of Barça and worse, in front of their own fans, clouded the hosts’ judgment. The referee brandished back to back cautionary cards to both Leandro and Ognjen Vukojević for their rough challenges.
The Spanish league leaders thought that they had grabbed the lead as Gerard Piqué’s effort rattled the back of the net, though to his dismay it was ruled out following a push by teammate Zlatan Ibrahimović during the move.
While he had been rather quiet for his standards for most of the match, Lionel Messi produced the breakthrough his side longed for, and he did so with a free-kick oozing of class just four minutes from time. The Argentine worked up his angles and struck the ball off the underside of the crossbar, past a helpless Shovskovskiy and into the back of the net to seal a well-deserved victory for his side.
You could never keep Barcelona and Lionel Messi down for too long, especially when we rewind to 2009, as Dynamo Kyiv found out the hard way.
Why do we fall, sir? (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP)
The Catalan kings rejoiced with the full-time whistle while they left their opposite numbers were full to the brim with reprieve. At the end of the day, the better team won as the Champions deservedly advanced to the knockout stages, where they found themselves rather unfortunate to lose to Jose Mourinho’s Inter in the semifinals. All said and done, Culés wish they can rewind their clocks to 2009 to watch Barcelona run riot over Dynamo Kyiv again.
Full Time: Dynamo Kyiv 1-2 Barcelona