Barça reaches this year’s first final (0-3)
Barça qualified for the final of the Copa del Rey after continuing the good work in the semi final first leg by increasing their aggregate score against Almería to 8-0 following classy goals from Adriano, Thiago and Afellay.
Barcelona (FCB).- Barça will be in the cup final on April 20. On Wednesday they made light work of beating Almeria 3-0, which added to the 5-0 of the first leg means the Andalusian side never got a look-in. Incredibly, in the three games played between these two teams so far this season, Barça have totalled sixteen goals without conceding any.
Given such a scenario, the Catalans were clearly confident that they wouldn\u2019t have to face too many problems tonight. And they were right. Pep Guardiola could afford to field a number of players that don\u2019t usually make the first eleven, but who he always insists are just as important when it comes to winning titles. And one again, he proved himself quite right.
Well learned lesson
No doubt the experience away to Betis in the previous round was somewhere on the minds of the Barça players as they went into the game. They maintained their usual intensity where many teams may have fallen into the trap of over-relaxation, but although they dominated the midfield, they struggled to find goalscoring chances. Almeria were desperate to give their fans something to cheer about after such a dismal result at the Camp Nou, and it was indeed the home side that enjoyed the first major chance, when debutant Feghouli\u2019s effort hit the post.
Adriano opens the scoring
As if that had been something of a wake-up call, Afellay warmed the gloves of Almeria keeper Esteban soon after that. The Dutchman was playing excellently in \u2018the hole\u2019 just behind the unusual strike force of Bojan and Nolito. But it was a defender, Adriano, who opened the scoring with his first goal of the season. And what a goal it was. He beat two defenders on both speed and skill, nutmeg included, and then stroked the ball under Esteban.
Thiago and Afellay too
The deadlock broken, Barça then dominated the second half, inspired by the youthful enthusiasm of Thiago and Nolito. The midfielder was the star of the second goal as he played the ball wide to Alves and then headed home the Brazilian\u2019s cross. By this point, Almeria were devastated. If they had ever had a glimmer of hope of turning this tie around, then those hopes were now dead.
Barça could afford to showboat from then on. Afellay scored the third of the night with an absolute scorcher from the edge of the area, and almost made it two shortly after following an excellent individual run that he culminated with a deft flick that failed to find the target. With space to play with, Barça were clearly in their element, and Guardiola decided to let the players enjoy themselves, rather than send on any of the players sat on his star-studded substitute\u2019s bench (the only change was Piqué for Busquets at the break). There can be no arguing that FC Barcelona thoroughly deserve their place in the 2011 Copa del Rey final.
0-1 Adriano (min 34)
0-2 Thiago (min 56)
0-3 Afellay (min 66)