Barcelona did exactly what was needed of them on Wednesday evening at Camp Nou, pulling off a 3-0 victory against Sevilla to secure their place in the final of the Copa del Rey. Sevilla had won the first leg 2-0, but Barcelona, buoyed by their 2-0 defeat of Sevilla in La Liga this past weekend, got the job done.
Ronald Koeman kept with the three-at-the-back system that served him so well at Sevilla, electing to bench Antoine Griezmann for the third game straight and give prominence to his countryman, Ousmane Dembele. The Frenchman paid his coach back in the 12th minute, leaving Tomas Vaclik still as a statue between the posts with a true golazo. Sevilla then had a golden chance to draw level in the second half, but substitute Lucas Ocampos saw his weak penalty kick easily saved by Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
It was a mistake they’d rue, as Gerard Pique scored Barcelona’s aggregate equaliser to take the game into extra-time in the 94th minute, an additional disadvantage for Sevilla given they were down to ten men following Fernando‘s red card moments before the goal. Martin Braithwaite then put Barcelona in the driving seat with a third goal, connecting well with Jordi Alba’s cross to confirm a stunning comeback.
“I’ve slept little,” Sevilla sporting director Monchi said the day after the game in comments carried by Marca. “It’s cost work, mainly because the taste of honey on your lips, of being able to have achieved another beautiful accomplishment for Sevilla. Unfortunately others can celebrate our debacles and misfortunes. We can only get angry at not being able to have achieved great successes. What we have to do is review where we failed.
“It was a difficult defeat, hard to digest and complicated in the manner in which it was produced. You have to continue. The big clubs are valued by their ability to get up, there’s no time to lick our wounds, although the stick has been fat with disappointment. It was a precious moment to redistribute joy amongst Sevillismo. And that still makes my heart sink. I wanted to fill Sevillista homes with joy.”