Four goals in 12 minutes from Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Lionel Messi gave a rampant Barcelona a 4-0 win over Athletic Club in the final of the Copa del Rey.
The Basque side faced their second cup final this month after defeat to Real Sociedad in the final of the 2019/20 edition of the competition two weeks ago and Barca made sure it would be another disappointing night for Marcelino and his players.
Gerard Pique returned to the Barca starting lineup after a number of weeks out through injury while Marcelino made no fewer than nine changes to the Athletic Club team that drew at home to Alaves last weekend.
Barcelona enjoyed the better of the first half possession and struck the woodwork within the opening 10 minutes when de Jong hit the base of the post with a low finish after being set up by Messi.
The breakthrough was finally made when Griezmann slammed a finish past Unai Simon from a De Jong square pass into the middle with the Dutch midfielder scoring a goal of his own soon after, heading home a Jordi Alba cross to the back post.
Messi scored the pick of the bunch just moments later to put the final beyond the reach of Athletic Club, bursting into the box following a one-two and a piece of trickery to finish into the far corner.
And Messi completed a 12-minute blitz of the Basque side with a low finish past Simon, who got a hand to the strike, from an Alba cut back to make it 4-0 with Griezmann having a fifth chalked off for offside. Ronald Koeman’s side will now turn their attention back towards the title race at the top of Liga with Getafe up next on Thursday.
'You have to win things' - Koeman on Barcelona's Copa del Rey triumph
TALKING POINT - Ronald Koeman has a trophy to prove Barca’s progress
From an early stage of the season, it was clear Koeman viewed the Copa del Rey as a way to prove Barcelona are heading in the right direction under his stewardship. After a difficult start to life as manager of the Camp Nou club, the Dutchman has proved a lot of his critics wrong as Barca have turned around their season. With one trophy in the bag, Koeman and his players will now focus their attention on adding the La Liga title to their haul for the campaign.
Frenkie de Jong of Barcelona (r) celebrates with teammates Pedri, Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi after scoring his sides second goal during the Copa del Rey Final match between Athletic Club and Barcelona at Estadio de La Cartuja on April 17, 2021 in
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH - Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
It took Messi a while to get going in this one, but when he did the Argentine was unstoppable. With Barcelona improving over the course of the season and a new (old) president now in place after the club election, Messi is surely intent on staying at the Camp Nou beyond the summer, when he will be out of contract. This certainly wasn’t the performance of a player whose mind is elsewhere.
Leo Messi (Barcelona)
Image credit: Getty Images
Athletic Club - Simon 7, de Marcos 5, Yeray 6, Martinez 5, Balenziaga 5, Berenguer 4, D. Garcia 3, Lopez 4, Muniain 4, Williams 3, R. Garcia 4. Subs - Vesga 4, Lekue 4, Berchiche 4, Nunez 3, Villalibre 5.
Barcelona - ter Stegen 6, Lenglet 5, Pique 7, Mingueza 7, Alba 8, Dest 7, Pedri 6, Busquets 5, de Jong 8, Messi 9, Griezmann 8. Subs - Roberto 6, Araujo 5, Ilaix 4, Braithwaite 3, Dembele 3.
8’ Off the post! So close to an opener for Barcelona in the first 10 minutes! Messi burst in behind, set up de Jong for the shot and the Dutch midfielder guided his low shot off the base of the far post!
13’ Big chance! That was a real opportunity for Athletic Club to take the lead with Martinez getting on the end of a freekick delivery into the box, but he could only guide wide on the stretch.
48’ GRIEZMANN... wide! How didn't that end up in the back of the net?! Messi played Dest in behind, he squared for Griezmann, but the Frenchman somehow sticks his shot wide of the post!
60’ GOAL! Athletic Club 0-1 Barcelona: Finally, Barcelona make the breakthrough! De Jong was played in down the right side by Messi, he squared for Griezmann and this time the French forward slams home a finish to give the Catalans the lead in the Copa del Rey final!
63’ GOAL! Athletic Club 0-2 Barcelona: Barcelona have given themselves a two-goal cushion and it's a long way back for Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey final! Alba found de Jong at the back post and the Dutchman headed into the back of the net from close range!
68’ GOAL! Athletic Club 0-3 Barcelona: What an incredible goal! Three goals in eight minutes for Barcelona and this is the pick of the bunch! Bit of trickery, bit of skill, a one-two on the edge of the box and Messi picks his spot with a low finish into the far corner of the net!
72’ GOAL! Athletic Club 0-4 Barcelona: A second goal for Messi and a fourth for Barcelona! This is now rampant from the Catalans! Alba cuts back the pass for the Argentine and he finishes into the left-hand corner of the net with a low strike! Simon couldn't keep it out!
85’ Goal ruled out! Griezmann has the ball in the net, but the VAR has taken a look at the fifth goal there for Barcelona and the Frenchman was in fact offside when the ball was played in behind. The goal is ruled out!
Lionel Messi has now scored 30 or more goals (in all competitions) in each of his last 13 seasons for Barcelona.
Messi has now scored nine goals in 10 Copa del Rey finals for Barcelona - no player has scored more in the competition’s final.