Barcelona vs. Alaves – there can only be one result, right?
Well, rather surprisingly, this year’s Copa del Rey final hasn’t been as clear-cut as supporters would have expected it to be.
Barcelona finished just a single point behind champions Real Madrid, while Alaves made themselves comfortable in ninth place.
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Furthermore, with Barcelona facing a season without a trophy and Luis Enrique taking charge of his final game with the club, they were expected to close the campaign on a high. Nevertheless, Alaves are going out of their way to spoil the party.
The plucky mid-table side managed to stifle Lionel Messi and co. in the early exchanges and even mustered a few chances of their own. Ibai Gomez came a matter of inches from opening the scoring, beating Jasper Cillessen but not the woodwork.
Upon the turn of the half-hour mark, though, and normal service seemed to resume. Moreover, it proved a goal from none another Messi himself – the small matter of his 54th strike of the season no less.
It was quite the finish, too. Collecting the ball 40 yards out from the goal, the 29-year-old galloped forward before playing a one-two with Neymar and curling home from the edge of the box.
The tidy finish can be seen below:
Typically effortless and, at that point, there could be no qualms over people thinking the game was over there and then. Alaves had enjoyed their chances but would the eventual breakthrough of the favourites break their morale?
Simply put, no. No it did not.
Just three minutes after Messi fired home, Alaves drew level and with a better strike at that. Theo Hernandez beat Cillessen with a superb free-kick that couldn’t have been further in the top corner if he had placed it with his hands.
His strike can be seen here:
To think he’s just 19-years-old, cracking stuff.
Unfortunately though, Alaves weren’t able to take their level position into half time. A fantastic team move and tap in from Neymar saw Barcelona regain their lead, before Paco Alcacer put them out of sight at 3-1 before the break.
To say Alaves have a memorable souvenir from the final however, regardless of the result, would be putting it mildly.
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