International, Sports

Messi brace leads Barca to Copa del Rey win.


SEVILLE, April 18 — FC Barcelona scored four goals in a twelve-minute second-half blitz to beat Athletic Club Bilbao 4-0 in the final of the 2020-21 Copa del Rey.
Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring following a move started by Leo Messi and ending with Frenkie de Jong’s measured cross in the 60th minute.
Three minutes later De Jong stooped to nod home Barca’s second of the game following a cross from Pedri and then it was left for Leo Messi to put the icing on the cake.
The Argentinean, playing perhaps his last cup final for Barca, scored an individual goal in the 67th minute, skipping inside two challenges before sliding the ball past Athletic keeper Unai Simon.
He scored his second in the 71st minute, clipping a low shot in at the near post after a pullback from Jordi Alba as Barca killed the game in 12 minutes.
The game had kicked off with Barca keeping the ball for around two minutes and the first half progressed with little change to the script as Athletic struggled to put more than two touches together as Barcelona kept the ball and pressed without it.
Frenkie de Jong hit the post in the fourth minute after a pullback from Messi and wing back Sergino Dest pulled wide before Messi also fired wide in the opening 10 minutes.
Messi was drifting around the pitch as Barca’s system of three central defenders and two wing-backs saw them use the full width of the pitch to try and pull Athletic’s defense apart.
However, central defenders Inigo Martinez and Yeray Alvarez were keeping things tight, with both making important blocks to keep it 0-0 at the break, despite Barca enjoying 80 percent of possession.
Unai Simon kept Barca at bay for 15 minutes at the start of the second period with brilliant saves from Griezmann, Pedri and Sergio Busquets, but once Griezmann broke the dam there was only ever going to be one winner.