Dembele, Pique 8/10 as Barca rally from two-goal first-leg deficit to reach Copa del Rey final

Dembele, Pique 8/10 as Barca rally from two-goal first-leg deficit to reach Copa del Rey final

Barcelona made a remarkable comeback against Sevilla 3-0 on Wednesday after extra time at Camp Nou. After two goals behind in the first leg, Barcelona were able to reach the Copa del Rey final and keep their best chance of a cup alive.

Substitute Martin Braithwaite headed the winning goal home in the 95th minute after Gerard Pique’s header, which was the last touch of regular time, dramatically forced extra time.

Ousmane Dembele had previously opened the lead with a breathtaking shot from 20 meters. Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved Lucas Ocampos a penalty in the second half before Fernando was sent off minutes before Pique equalized for Sevilla.

Barca will face either Athletic Bilbao or Levante in the final in April. The two teams meet in Valencia on Thursday after a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Bilbao last month.

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Barca’s season was written off after a 2-0 first-leg loss in Seville, followed by a 4-1 Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain. However, since then they have narrowed the gap to La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid to five points and now have a cup final to look forward to next month. A repeat of last season’s trophyless campaign seems a little less likely than before.

The win on Wednesday – like the league win in Seville on Saturday – Barca looked hungry again. They pushed well, didn’t give Seville time to breathe and adapted well to their formation. Ronald Koeman chose to play with three center-backs again. Regardless of the problems outside the field, the team looks united and committed to its coach.

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It looked like Barca’s impressive performance and all of their hard work would go into injury time for nothing. Before Pique’s goal, they had failed to make the most of their possession in and around the penalty area, with the desire to run the ball into the back of the net, which cost them. They have to shoot when they get the chance in and around the area and they have to go faster too.

Manager rating of 10

8th – Koeman stayed with the same team that comfortably beat Sevilla on Saturday and reaped the rewards in the first half. His substitutions, which seemed strange at first, also helped swing the game in Barca’s favor in the end.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes are not rated)

GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 8 – The penalty from Ocampos was huge. Without them, Sevilla would have an away goal and Barca were almost eliminated from the competition.

DF Oscar Mingueza, 8 – The B-Team defender has once again shown that he is the first team to stay. A perfect fit for the right-sided central defender role in a three-man defense. Unfortunately, the penalty was given for a foul on Ocampos.

DF Gerard Pique, 8 – A colossal performance by the defender both behind and above. It’s incredible to believe that he just returned from a knee injury at the end of the season and was able to play so many minutes in such a short amount of time.

DF Clement Lenglet, 6 – Looked more confident on the ball than in the last few weeks, but had to wait nervously in extra time when VAR checked a possible handball in the Sevilla box.

MF Sergino Dest, 6 – Almost a right winger when Barca are on forefoot in this form. Had some nice touches but fought in a duel with Marcos Acuna who had too much strength for him. Came off after an hour.

MF Sergio Busquets, 7 – Good on the ball and well pressed, but couldn’t quite find this succinct pass in the last third.

MF Frenkie de Jong, 7- I didn’t stop running for 120 minutes, helping to defend and attack.

MF Pedri, 7 – Started the game even though it wasn’t ruled out for two weeks on Sunday due to a calf problem. He’s quick on the ball and vital to Barca’s press. He just has to work on his shooting – or at least shoot more.

MF Jordi Alba, 9- A threat in attack that hits the crossbar with a brilliant volley and sets the winner. I’ve also worked hard to come back and defend myself, cover up his colleagues, and put in some crucial blockades.

FW Lionel Messi, 7 – For once, he was not involved in the key moments of the game despite slipping in the pass for Dembele’s goal. Even so, he was still central to almost every attack that Barca put together.

FW Ousmane Dembele, 8 – Enjoy playing as the center through the center in this new formation. Had two chances when he expertly picked up his third. Seville was afraid when he ran on her.


FW Antoine Griezmann, 7 – Defended brilliantly, showing a calm head to hit his man and cross for Pique at the last minute of normal time.

DF Junior Firpo, 6 – Replaced Mingueza who booked and did a good job on the right.

MF Ilaix Moriba, 6 – Koeman showed great confidence in the 18-year-old to get Barca to still watch the game and he didn’t look out of place.

FW Martin Braithwaite, 6 – Scored the winner and stood in front of his husband to connect to Alba’s cross.

FW Francisco Trincao, 6 – Danced impressively late through the defense of Sevilla, but his shot was blocked.