News : Copa del Rey: Lionel Messi towers in FC Barcelona win over Athletic Bilbao
Bilbao had not won in six competitive games before the game, including losing the cup final of the previous season 0-1 (0-0) to Real Sociedad two weeks ago. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Copa del Rey final did not take place in April 2020 as originally planned.
For their part, Barca were in good shape before the Clásico defeat and had not lost nine times in a row. So the start of the cup final went as expected.
The first big chance to take the lead was there after five minutes. Frenkie de Jong hit the post after great work by Lionel Messi (5th). Just a few minutes later, Bilbao showed how it could possibly work for the underdog. After a free kick, the ball slipped to Inigo Martinez, who did not put it in the goal (13th).
First no chances, then four goals in twelve minutes
Before and after that, Bilbao withdrew very far. Barça had the game under control, but initially failed to symbolize this in the score. Above all, Messi initiated attack after attack. Yet another clear scoring chance did not emerge despite 84 percent possession in the first half.
Even after the break, there was a great chance to take the Barça lead early on. Antoine Griezmann failed from five meters in front of Bilbao’s goalkeeper Unai Simon (48th). Five minutes later, Simon rescued again. This time Pedri failed at the goalkeeper.
The favorite now drove attacks every minute. And on his second big chance, Griezmann took the overdue lead. After preliminary work by Messi and de Jong, he scored from short distance this time (60th).
Bilbao’s resistance was now broken. First de Jong put in a cross from Jordi Alba (63rd), then the outstanding Messi stoked another brace (68th + 72nd). In the end, it was a clear 31st cup win for Barcelona and the first title since the 2019 Spanish championship.