Barcelona survived the first-half dismissal of Javier Mascherano to secure a 2-0 win over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final at Vicente Calderon on Sunday night.
- Barcelona 2 Sevilla 0
- Mascherano given marching orders
- Banega dismissal evens the odds
- Alba gives Barca lead in extra-time
- Neymar seals domestic double
- Carrico also sent off for Sevilla
The Catalan outfit’s night got off to a bad start when Mascherano was sent off for a professional foul on Kevin Gameiro nine minutes before half-time, but the La Liga champions held on in the second half as Los Rojiblancos were also reduced to 10 men in stoppage time with the dismissal of Ever Banega.
With the numbers even again in extra-time, it took Barca just seven minutes to finally break the deadlock, Jordi Alba finishing from a tight angle after being played through on goal by Lionel Messi. Luis Enrique's side went in search of a second goal to kill off the cup-tie and it duly arrived at the death, courtesy of Neymar, to clinch the domestic double, but not before Daniel Carrico was also sent off.
The Catalans made the better start and Luis Suarez went close on seven minutes with a shot from inside the area that flashed just to the left of the post.
Sergio Escudero tried his luck from range for the Europa League champions on 17 minutes, but Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a comfortable save.
Grzegorz Krychowiak failed to test Ter Stegen with two long-range shots in quick succession on 25 minutes, while at the other end Dani Alves saw his effort from outside the area fly narrowly past the goal on the half-hour mark.
But Barca lost the services of Mascherano six minutes later after he tugged Gameiro down as the striker looked to run through on goal. Banega forced Ter Stegen into a superb save from the resulting free-kick.
The Blaugrana almost took the lead moments before half-time as Gerard Pique got on the end of Ivan Rakitic's cross, but the defender missed the target by a fraction.
Banega was unfortunate to see his 18-yard strike hit the woodwork at the start of the second half, although there were very few chances from either team after the break.
Messi tested Sergio Rico on two occasions, while Jeremy Mathieu also forced a save out of the Los Rojiblancos keeper, just a couple of minutes after Banega was shown a straight red card for a foul on Neymar from behind.
Rico was called into action again early in extra-time to deny both Neymar and Alves in a matter of minutes, but he was finally beaten on 97 minutes as Alba was sent through on goal by Messi's ball over the top and the Spaniard fired home from a tight angle to give Barca the lead.
The Catalans were sniffing blood and Rico thwarted Messi, Pique, Sergio Busquets and Neymar, before the Brazilian forward combined with Messi to score from close range to seal victory. Carrico was dismissed for a second bookable offence just moments before the goal.