Koeman wins first prize with Barcelona by starring De Jong in cup final

Ronald Koeman won his first prize on Saturday as coach of FC Barcelona. The Catalans were, partly due to Frenkie de Jong (one goal and two assists) and Lionel Messi (two goals), much too strong for Athletic Club in the final of the Spanish Cup: 0-4.

The goals all came in the second half, in the space of twelve minutes. Antoine Griezmann opened the score in the sixtieth minute, De Jong made the 0-2 (63rd minute) and Messi decided the game with the 0-3 (68th minute) and the 0-4 (72nd minute).

For FC Barcelona it is the 31st overall victory in the Copa del Rey. This makes the top club the record holder.

23-time winner Athletic Club played its second cup final of this month. Two weeks ago, the Basques lost 1-0 to Real Sociedad in the postponed final battle of last season.

Koeman has been the trainer of Barcelona since last summer. The former national coach of Orange already won the Copa del Rey as a player in 1990 with ‘Barça’. As a coach he also took the cup with Ajax (2002) and Valencia (2008).

Barcelona takes distance from Athletic in the second half

Barcelona almost had the perfect start in the empty Olympic Stadium in Seville. De Jong hit the post after five minutes after a pass from Messi. It was the prelude to a first half in which Koeman’s team had no less than 84 percent of the ball, but did not create many chances.

After the break, Barcelona completely knocked out the opponent. Athletic keeper Unai Simón made a good save on bets from Antoine Griezmann, Pedri and Sergio Busquets, but a goal from the Catalans could not be missed.

That hit came after an hour. Messi sent De Jong away on the right and this time Griezmann fired convincingly from a low cross: 0-1.

Three minutes later, De Jong made the 0-2 himself. The Dutchman headed on a lead from Jordi Alba with a diving hit from within the five-meter area. Athletic coach Marcelino then brought in three new players, but Barcelona was unstoppable.

Messi made it 0-3 in the 68th minute, after a nice combination with De Jong, and closed the very productive fifteen minutes of Barcelona in the 72nd minute with the 0-4. It was the 33-year-old Argentinian’s 56th goal in the Copa del Rey and he captured his 35th prize with Barcelona.
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