Thanks in particular to a goal from Antoine Griezmann, FC Barcelona easily won in the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao (4-0).
Athletic Bilbao is definitely not successful in the Copa del Rey. Two weeks after losing in the final of the 2020 edition – postponed by one year due to the pandemic – against Real Sociedad (0-1), the Basque club lost on Saturday April 17 against FC Barcelona in Estadio de la Cartuja in Seville in the final of the 2021 edition (0-4). By winning the 31st Copa del Rey in its history, Barça is sure not to have a second consecutive white season.
Ronald Koeman, the coach of the Catalan club, can especially thank Antoine Griezmann. The French, holder at the start of the meeting – unlike Ousmane Dembélé, who entered during the game – was able to unlock a meeting during which the Barcelonans could begin to harbor some doubts. Throughout the game, Barca laid siege to Bilbao’s goal, with indecent ball possession of almost 80% over the entire 90 minutes. But without succeeding in finding the opening.
At least until the hour of play. It was at this point in the meeting that Griezmann was able to blow the Basque lock, on a perfect cross from Frenkie de Jong (60th). Ten minutes earlier, the 2018 world champion had found himself in exactly the same situation but had come up against Unai Simon (48th). First saved at the start of the match by his post on a strike from De Jong (5th), the Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper made a series of high class saves, in particular an exceptional one in front of Sergio Busquets (53rd) to maintain his team desire.
It was without counting on Griezmann’s flair. After this liberating goal for Barça, the dyke of Athletic has completely given way. De Jong, excellent tonight as for several months now, doubled the bet three minutes after the opening of the scoring (63rd) before offering his second assist of the evening to Messi (68th). The Argentine offered himself a brace a few minutes later (72nd) to conclude a clear victory. Ultra-domineering, the Barcelona were barely worried about a recovery of Inigo Martinez (12th) against an Athletic who exploded in mid-flight.
In twelve minutes, Barça therefore folded this final. And as in 2009 (1-4), 2012 (0-3) and 2015 (1-3), Athletic fell heavily in the Copa del Rey final against FC Barcelona. The Basque club have not won this competition since 1984 when Griezmann won it for the first time in his career. By the way, the Catalan club takes revenge on Athletic who had beaten them in the final of the Spanish Supercup last January (2-3 after).
For Griezmann and Barça, this victory is a relief. After a year 2020 without winning any title – an anomaly for a team like FC Barcelona – the Catalan club is sure to finish 2021 with at least one trophy in the bag. Koeman’s side are still in La Liga with just two points behind leaders Atlético de Madrid. After this victory in the Copa del Rey this Saturday, the double remains possible. An end to the season that seemed totally unthinkable for Barça a few months ago.