Barcelona wins Copa and Liga trophies
In back to back weeks, over two matches, against Sevilla (5-0) and Deportivo la Coruna (4-2), Barcelona won the Copay del Rey and La Liga trophies with a devastating 9-goal output (with scoring from Lionel Messi 4, Luis Suarez 2, Phillipe Coutinho 2, and Andres Iniesta 1).
The Copa Final, played at the Wanda Metropolitano, on April 21 was a cake walk as Sevilla seemed to be playing in first gear for long stretches and Barcelona was ahead after only 13 minutes. The scoring was continuous—at the 30, 39, 51 and 68 minutes—and Sevilla’s response was only periodically above anemic.
Yesterday, at the Estadio Riazor, the game opened with a Deportivo team honorary arch through which the Barca players entered the pitch, the gesture being a way, we were told, of congratulating the Catalans for their previous Copa win. The Riazor then witnessed an early Barca onslaught as Coutinho opened the scoring against the hosts at the sixth minute.
Inexplicably, throughout the match, Messi seemed to wander free often and in particular when in dangerous areas. On two of his three goals there were inexcusable defensive blunders where the best player of the planet got to nearly walk into the goal unmarked while Depors defenders enjoyed a close up view of their bulging net.
But this match became competitive and the hosts tied the score by the 63rd minute only to have Messi score twice (81, 84) in the space of four minutes to put the match and domestic competition to bed. Barca, by the way, has gone unbeaten in La Liga play, to this point.
With a meaningless Clasico coming at the weekend, Barca and Real will be playing for bragging rights and pride in an anticlimactic match—for the double-trophy winning hosts who do not need a win other than wanting to go undefeated for the full season, and for the visitors’ stars, coming in after a Champions League semifinal conclusion, this might just be a game to give big players a rest and allow up and coming, or soon departing, players a big launching stage.
It will be interesting to see what each coach feels like risking with a potential long summer break previous to the 2018 World Cup a well-earned and valued prize for several Barca starters and a Champions League final a potential focus for the visitors’ starters.