After a dramatic second leg in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, FC Barcelona are still celebrating their place in the cup final despite being two goals behind from the first leg. Ousmane Dembélé set the course early, before Gerard Piqué scored the important 2-0 for extra time just seconds before the end. Martin Braithwaite made the decision there. The match report.
After the 2-0 win over Sevilla FC last weekend, Ronald Koeman sent the same team onto the pitch in the semi-final second leg of the Copa del Rey. Pedri, who was actually written off for several games because of a recently pulled calf strain, but recovered at a rapid pace, was thus also back in the starting line-up. Koeman didn’t change the approach either, Barça appeared again in the 3-5-2. With the two-goal deficit from the first leg in mind, the Blaugrana went into the game.
Dembélé with an early dream goal
From the very first second there was a high intensity in the Camp Nou. The hosts were aware of the difficult task, but also exposed to the aggressive pressing of the guests. Julen Lopetegui’s team, who were surprisingly cautious last weekend, disturbed the Blaugrana early on. But Barça played precisely and found their way to the top. Ousmane Dembélé fired the first shot of the game after a pass from Pedri, but missed (6th).
The high start of the Andalusians of course revealed gaps in the back team that Barça wanted to exploit. The Koeman protégés pushed for the lead with a clever game despite the poisonous pressing of the Sevillanos. First Sergi Busquets fired a long-range shot, which Tomas Vaclik easily held on (10th). Then center forward Dembélé reappeared in the attack: Lionel Messi dribbled past some guests, gave the game device to the French, who made space in a confined space and suddenly pulled out of nowhere just behind the penalty area – and worth seeing to 1-0 in hit the corner, goalkeeper Vaclik could only be amazed (12th).
A tailor-made start for the home side, who were still behind in the overall result despite the lead. Los Nervionenses, on the other hand, found it difficult to get into the game, only Joan Jordán dared an attempt in attack, but a shot by the midfielder was blocked (20th). Barça did not give up, but needed some time before the next opportunities. First Pedri fired a safe long-range shot (32nd), a few moments later the youngster played in the penalty area for Messi, who was then only prevented from scoring by Marcos Acuña, who was clearing the line (33rd).
The Blaugrana had the goal of reaching the finals in front of their eyes, played venomously, viciously, and combative – so Barça was actually rarely seen in the first round. But nothing happened until half-time, which is why Barça had to be content with the narrow lead.
Alba hits the bar – Ter Stegen saves a penalty
Koeman and Lopetegui did not make any personnel changes at the start of the second 45 minutes, but shortly after the restart, the guest coach decided to make a triple change. Jesus Navas, Karim Rekik and Ivan Raktic replaced the ailing Aleix Vidal, Marcos Acuña and Luuk de Jong (52nd). Lopetegui now relied on compactness instead of pressing and condensed the center. As in the first round, there were no more gaps for Barça, who from then on kept the playground equipment in their own ranks for a long time and was looking for the way to the next goal.
After 63 minutes, Koeman reacted to the tactical tricks of his counterpart by switching Antoine Griezmann for Sergiño Dest and switched from a back three to a back four. The Blaugrana made breadth. The active Dembélé brought a cross from the right wing into the penalty area, where the advanced Jordi Alba started to volley and slammed the ball against the crossbar (67th).
Bad luck for the home side, who then got lucky on the other side – or an attentive goalkeeper. In the 71st minute, Óscar Mingueza fouled Lucas Ocampos, who had also been substituted, in his own penalty area. It was logical that the penalty kick was awarded, even if Mingueza refused to admit it. The fouled competed himself, but finished far too weakly and unplaced, Marc-André ter Stegen, who suspected the right corner, even held Ocampos’ shot (73.).
So it was the lead for Barça, who gradually battled against time. A long ball from the center of Alba forward to Messi was a bit too long for the Argentine, who missed the pass to Mingueza, who was ready to be pushed in (78th).
Fernando flies – Piqué hits in the last second for extra time
Koeman exchanged a few seconds later: Júnior Firpo and Ilaix Moriba came for Busquets and Mingueza. The Blaugrana threw everything forward and pushed for the second goal. In the final minutes, Pedri did not dare to finish from a promising position in the center of the penalty area, instead put down for Messi, whose attempt was supposedly blocked by Ocampos, whereupon the Barça players demanded a penalty, but the referee was not heard (87 .).
Koeman went on full, Martin Braithwaite and Trincão replaced Pedri and Dembélé, who was holding his calf in the meantime (89th). Fernando, who had already been warned, fouled close to his own penalty area shortly before the final whistle and flew off with yellow and red – the subsequent free kick by Messi bounced off the wall into the goal (90 + 2).
Messi’s next corner nearly went out of bounds, but Diego Carlos re-opened the ball. Griezmann came to the game device and crossed from the left side precisely on the head of Gerard Piqué, who headed into the far corner and scored the all-important 2-0 (90 + 4). Loud cheers in the empty Camp Nou. The rescue at the last second, suddenly it went into overtime.
Braithwaite raised per head
The momentum was on the side of Barça, and the cards for the home side were even better because of the excess situation. Firpo initially made a harmless finish (94th), shortly afterwards Braithwaite made the third goal. Barça sought the way outside because of the concentrated center, Alba got the ball on the left wing and crossed to Braithwaite, who ran through to the near post in the penalty area and headed the 3-0 through Vaclik’s braces (95th).
The Remontada was in full swing. Mind you, Sevilla only needed one goal to get through the away goals rule. The guests demanded a penalty in the 100th minute after a handball from Lenglet after an arc lamp flank, but did not get it – dizzy for the French and Barcelona.
There were no big chances in extra time because Barça – in the end with his strength – only managed and somehow tried to keep the ball in their own ranks, while Sevilla was desperate for everything. Only with a long-range shot by Jules Koundé, which Ter Stegen certainly had, it was dangerous for a short time (119th). After 122 minutes it was over, the entry into the cup final was certain. Barcelona cheered exuberantly, the first title is now within their grasp.
After this dramatic success over the Andalusians in the Copa del Rey, FC Barcelona will face Osasuna next Saturday (9 p.m.).