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A double to end a dream season

The victory in the Vicente Calderón strengthens FC Barcelona's position as the most successful team of recent years as they claim the Copa del Rey for the second successive season. Jordi Alba’s goal in the seventh minute of extra time capped a stunning turnaround of events and handed FC Barcelona a well-deserved 2–0 victory over Sevilla in the 2016 Copa del Rey final on Sunday night at the Vicente Calderón Stadium in Madrid. With the La Liga championship already in the bag, Sunday’s Copa del Rey win — the 28th in Club history — means Barça have emerged on top in both of this season’s national competitions, giving them the coveted domestic double and ensuring the 2015/16 season will be hailed as a success for years to come.

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23 May 2016 10:22 AM

by

H. MICHAEL TOLL / R BOGUNYÀ

Barcelona (CNA).- FC Barcelona pull off 2–0 extra time victory over Sevilla for their second domestic title of the season and 28th Copa del Rey of all-time. Jordi Alba’s goal in the seventh minute of extra time capped a stunning turnaround of events and just instants before the final whistle Neymar tacked on a goal. Lionel Messi had both assists. The victory in the Vicente Calderón strengthens FC Barcelona's position as the most successful team of recent years as they claim the Copa del Rey for the second successive season. With the La Liga championship already in the bag, winning the Copa del Rey and in the process assuring themselves of another double, the seventh of this type in their history, means that Barça have now won four trophies this season to continue a cycle of victories over the last decade that cannot be touched.


Sunday’s Copa del Rey win means Barça have emerged on top in both of this season’s national competitions, giving them the coveted domestic double and ensuring the 2015/16 season will be hailed as a success for years to come.

After seeing off the challenge of the two Champions League finalists in the league, Luis Enrique’s did the same in the cup to a Sevilla side who had just won the Europe League title for the third season in a row. Victory in the Copa del Rey and league have come in a week that will live long in the Club’s history.

Jordi Alba’s goal in the seventh minute of extra time capped a stunning turnaround of events and handed FC Barcelona a well-deserved 2–0 victory over Sevilla in the 2016 Copa del Rey final on Sunday night at the Vicente Calderón Stadium in Madrid.

Neymar tacked on a goal just instants before the final whistle. Lionel Messi had both assists.

Overall, the title is Barça’s fourth of the season. The Catalans beat Sevilla in an extra-time thriller in the UEFA Super Cup final to start the season before winning the FIFA Club World Cup in December.

With the La Liga championship already in the bag, Sunday’s Copa del Rey win — the 28th in Club history — means Barça have emerged on top in both of this season’s national competitions, giving them the coveted domestic double and ensuring the 2015/16 season will be hailed as a success for years to come.

An hour before Alba’s scored the eventual game-winner, though, the outlook was not as bright.

After dominating possession through the first 30 minutes of the final, FC Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano were slapped with straight red card in the 36th minute for getting tangled up with Sevilla’s Kevin Gameiro as he raced in on goal.

Later, not long after the second half had gotten underway, Barça received a second shock, as Luis Suárez had to leave the game with an injury after stretching just a bit too far to haul in a pass.

As Suárez sauntered off gingerly, Luis Enrique conferred with his assistants in the face of what was looking more and more like a chess match.

With Sevilla getting ever deeper into Barça territory and threatening to take the lead, midfielder Éver Banega was shown a red card after tackling Neymar from behind just outside the box. Just like Mascherano, Banega was also judged to be the last man.

Tasked with a 22-metre free kick to essentially win the game, Messi somewhat awkwardly lobbed the ball over the wall before it was slapped over the bar by Sergio Rico.

Nevertheless, when the whistle came signalling the end of regulation, Barça, no longer down a man, were visibly relieved and used the hiatus to regroup both physically and mentally.

The Barça XI came out of the huddle looking as confident as they had all evening. If they were going to win this one they would have to do it like they did in last summer’s Super Cup — in extra time.

And that’s just what happened.

Retaking control of the game, Messi picked out Alba with a long pass and the speedy full-back hauled it in before flicking it past Sergio Rico for the game’s first score in the 97th minute.

Celebrations erupted on the Barça bench and among the throngs of supporters who had made the trip to Madrid.

There were still 20 minutes left of extra time. As the clock plodded on into triple digits, players from both sides appeared to be on the verge of physical exhaustion.

With Sevilla now fighting for their lives, defender Daniel Carriço was booked twice in the 120th minute after a hard tackle on Messi followed by a surplus of vociferous protest.

On the ensuing play, and with the game, and the tournament, all but over, Messi found Neymar in the Sevilla area and the Brazilian slotted past Rico, touching off FC Barcelona’s second title celebration in the last eight days.

An epic of character and football

The win the Vicente Calderón was one of courage and pride. The dismissal of Javier Mascherano in the first half and the injury to Luis Suárez in the second failed to dent Barça’s resolve as the blaugranes were not to be dissuaded from their pursuit of victory. In the league the team were able to overcome their April dip and in the cup final they were able to do the same, showing immense character when it was needed. Football, in the end, won out and the ball was Barça’s 12th man as always.

The 28th cup in their history rounds off a wonderful season which has included such highlights as the 4-0 win in the Bernabéu and the 7-0 win over Valencia at Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey semi-final. The season’s successes can be seen as fitting tribute to Johan Cruyff, the man who was the architect of the Club’s most trophy laden period in its 116 year history.

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  • The team celebrating on the field at the Calderón (by FCB)

  • The team celebrating on the field at the Calderón (by FCB)