Barcelona do the double for the second straight season as extra-time goals from Jordi Alba and Neymar defeated Sevilla 2-0 in the Copa del Rey final.
Barca were unchanged and full-strength at the Vicente Calderon as Sevilla made two changes from their 2-1 victory over Liverpool in the Europa League final on Thursday, with David Soria and Steven N’Zonzi being replaced by Sergio Rico and Vicente Iborra.
Doubles were at stake due to Barca’s League triumph and Sevilla’s Europa glory in the past week, although La Blaugrana were considered heavy favourites, with the Andalusians as low as 5-1 in the betting.
Indeed, Barca came closest to taking the lead through Pichichi winner Luis Suarez, who took down Andres Iniesta’s scooped pass in the Sevilla box and volleyed a shot just wide, but that would be their only shot on target in the first.
Sevilla, meanwhile, worked tremendously hard to stifle their opponents, almost getting in behind on a couple of occasions through Kevin Gameiro, and they thought they had won a penalty when Gerard Pique missed his header and the Frenchman’s shirt was pulled by Mascherano.
A spot-kick may not have been given, but Mascherano was nonetheless sent off as the last man, having made the foul in the Barca D. Banega – on possibly his last Sevilla appearance before joining Inter – then bent the free kick towards the top corner of Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s goal, but the German magnificently tipped the ball over.
That wasn’t Ter Stegen’s only save, however, as he was forced to keep out Sergio Escudero’s cross-cum-shot, which threatened to sneak past the goalkeeper at the near post, but he could do little about Banega’s effort, which deflected off Sergio Busquets and clipped the inside of the post.
Barca’s evening didn’t get any easier after the break as Suarez stretched for the ball and ended up pulling his hamstring, prompting the distraught Uruguayan to hobble off the pitch.
Sevilla were busy growing in momentum and saw another chance go beginning, Vitolo shaking off Dani Alves and driving into the box from the right, although the winger took too long to pick his spot.
Pique was the Catalans’ one-man army at the back as he made countless interceptions, one of which led to a corner that fell to Grzegorz Krychowiak. However, the Pole’s shot outside the box was crucially blocked wide by Busquets, despite it threatening to go anywhere.
Gameiro was next up to breathe down on Ter Stegen’s goal as he took down a long ball from the right, yet out of nowhere came Pique with a perfectly-timed sliding tackle, and that proved to be the turning point in Barca’s favour.
With just two minutes of injury time left to play, Neymar was through on goal and Banega had no choice but to take out the forward on the edge of the box, resulting in his dismissal. Messi then almost scored from the free kick as Rico tipped his effort over the bar.
No new faces entered the game as extra time began – in similar fashion to the European Super Cup at the beginning of the season. Barca ran out 5-4 winners on that occasion, and they had to thank Alba, who broke down the left in a bid to take down Messi’s lobbed pass, got to the byline and angled a finish across Rico for his first goal of the campaign.
The chances kept coming for Barca, with Sevilla looking like a beaten team, yet Rico was on hand to make three fantastic saves, first to pluck Pique’s free header out of the air, before denying Alves’ rocket from distance and finally getting both hands to Neymar’s aerial finish.
Nonetheless, Daniel Carrico saw red for aggressively pursuing the referee, who fell down with cramp for a couple of minutes, as he was questionably booked for a tackle on Messi, and it quickly paled into insignificance, Neymar applying the coolest of finishes past Rico from Messi’s through ball moments later to secure Copa No 28 for Barca.
Barcelona 2-0 Sevilla (aet.)
Alba 97, Neymar 123, Mascherano sent off 36 (B) Banega sent off 90 (S)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic (Mathieu 46), Iniesta; Messi, Suarez (Rafinha 57), Neymar
Sevilla: Rico; Mariano (Konoplyanka 80), Carrico, Rami, Escudero; Krychowiak, Iborra; Coke, Banega, Vitolo; Gameiro (Llorente 106)
Referee: Del Cerro Grande