The life of Barça is explained from the Cup. The best and the worst Barça teams have left their mark on the star tournament at the Camp Nou museum. Koeman’s is halfway there, expectant in the League and badly stopped in the Champions League, a finalist instead in the Cup. He has defended the tournament as proof of life, surviving after three overtimes in four games, protagonist of the most epic, most summarized in his comeback against Sevilla. Ter Stegen saved Ocampos a penalty and Piqué scored the goal that forced the extension in the 94th minute.
The Catalans played a great game, far superior to a rival who referred to the referee, the Andalusians desperate because the title will be fought in La Cartuja. Sevilla were confused by the many alternatives that the second leg gave them because the first leg ended 2-0. He played many games in one and none of them were worth it given the certainty that Barça had that they would win 3-0. The Catalans have more history in the competition and they controlled a strenuous contest in the empty Camp Nou better psychologically and soccer.
Encouraged by the League clash, Koeman tried to make the second leg of the Cup have the same script as that of Nervión. There was so much fever in the team since Saturday that even Pedri recovered from the shock, threw down his crutches and made himself available to the coach so that he could arrange the winning formation in Seville. There was no more challenge than to come back 2-0. Lopetegui could choose instead to administer the advantage or go for the game after being very sore from the Pizjuán appointment. The coach changed the spirit, the alignment and the plan, conditioned by the injuries and some doubts that he tried to hide with the high pressure that he had against Ter Stegen. Barcelona, however, came out well and fast with the ball, vertical due to Pedri’s skill. The canary’s driving, Dest’s depth and Dembélé’s punch intimidated Vaclik.
There is no antidote that works with Dembélé. The Frenchman’s capacity for surprise is so amazing that it confuses even centrals like Koundé and Diego Carlos. The defenders remain standing to contemplate the last trick of the extreme. Nobody enters or touches him but they look at him and float while he turns around, dribbles and finishes, sometimes badly and sometimes well, accurate against Sevilla. His shot entered Vaclik’s right squad.
Barça’s goal woke up Sevilla. From long possessions, Lopetegui’s team began to govern the clash and even Messi helped defend the centrals, more comfortable since they were three and defects are corrected, more concentrated and better oriented by Ter Stegen. Busquets joined the lines and Messi maneuvered as the best point guard in the game, more canchero than ever in his duel with Jordán. The arrivals were as selective as they were harmful because their football had rhythm and speed and the plays used to end with a shot against Vaclik. The Catalans needed two more goals while Sevilla had one to dream of La Cartuja.
The contest was of a capital, intense and frenetic physical demand, and Barça endured the power of Sevilla. The players came and went in a beautiful game that only stopped at half-time, more necessary for Barça. Lopetegui has a larger squad than Koeman. The Barça fans lost explosiveness and precision and the Sevilla fans secured their defense to go out in quick transitions in search of En-Nesyri. Mingueza marked the line like a wild boar, excellent in anticipation, and Messi was looking for the inside pass against Vaclik.
At game time, Ocampos and Griezmann entered. The drawing and the idea of Barça varied, more fatigued and less clairvoyant, although always persevering, as seen in Alba’s shot to the crossbar after a cross from Dembélé. The entrances by the sides gave air to the barcelonistas before a Seville reservation, entrusted to Ocampos. The Argentine ended up taking a penalty from Mingueza. Ter Stegen then appeared and stopped the shot at Ocampos himself. The play gave energy to Barça, who did not despair in their patient harassment of Vaclik.
They did not falter, the 10 footballers in the Sevilla area, until they reached extra time on the last play, after a rejection at the exit of a corner from Messi, when Piqué headed a center from Griezmann as a center forward. The goal and the expulsion of Fernando sentenced Sevilla, killed by a header from Braithwaite to the center of Alba. The sevillista outburst is not enough against the greats, not against Barça, who resisted after Sevilla asked for a second penalty at the hands of Lenglet. Nobody dominates the epic like the dramatic and brave Barça now led by the exhausted and Piqué and captained by Messi.