Lionel Messi Scored Twice As Barcelona Swept Aside Athletic Bilbao

Four goals in 12 second half minutes from Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Lionel Messi (2) gave Barcelona a thoroughly deserved 4-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao at Estadio La Cartuja in Sevilla. It was Barca’s 31st Copa del Rey trophy.

Barcelona claimed their first trophy in two years after a comfortable victory over Athletic Bilbao. It was once again disappointment for the Basques who lost their second Copa del Rey final in two weeks after being defeated by Real Sociedad 0-1 earlier in the month. It means Athletic have now been defeated in their last six Copa del Rey finals.

Marcelino’s men failed to turn up for the game against Sociedad and their performance against Ronald Koeman’s side was as poor. Barca were the much better side from the off and could have easily led after five minutes, but Frenkie de Jong’s effort struck the far upright.

Barca had over 85% possession in the first half, but they failed to trouble goalkeeper Unai Simon too many times after that. In fact, Athletic had a couple of half chances themselves. Inigo Martinez very nearly got on the end of Alex Berenguer’s free-kick and then Inaki Williams’ cross was caught by the keeper.

The first half was quiet with few chances and 0-0 was a fair score at the break. Athletic played to defend and they were reasonably comfortable, but Barca upped their game in the second period and Athletic could not handle the Catalans’ star studded side.

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Unai Simon made three superb saves to deny Griezmann, Pedri and then Busquets in the space of five minutes, but Barca continued to press and deservedly hit the front on the hour mark. Messi found De Jong on the right and he squared for Griezmann in the middle who beat the keeper from close range.

Three minutes later, Barca made it two when Jordi Alba’s ball into the box was headed in by Frenkie de Jong from inside the six yard box. Athletic Bilbao had a mountain to climb after that and they brought on Yuri and Asier Villalibre to try and change things.

However, seconds later, Messi killed off the contest when he played two one-twos with Antoine Griezmann before slotting the ball into the far corner. Then, in the 72nd minute, Messi struck again. The ball was played to Jordi Alba and he cut back for Lionel Messi he hit home past Unai Simon. The keeper will feel he should have saved it, but the damage was long done.

Athletic Bilbao knew the game was done, but Raul Garcia looked for a consolation. Unfortunately for him, his header into the ground from a corner bounced over the bar.

Griezmann thought he had put the icing on the cake four minutes from time after being played in by Lionel Messi, but the VAR detected he was just offside and the goal was chalked off. It did not dampen the Barca celebrations though as they were far too good for their opponents. For Athletic, it is a case of reflecting on another opportunity missed.

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