Jordi Alba and Neymar struck in extra-time to settle a feisty Copa del Rey final and handed Barcelona a domestic double.
The Spain left-back was played in exquisitely by Lionel Messi after 97 minutes of breathless play at the Vicente Calderón, and hooked it past Sergio Rico from a tight angle to make it 1-0 and settle the finale to Spain’s domestic season.
Just Atletico’s Champions League final with Real Madrid remains of the 2015/16 campaign, and only those two sides have caused Barca as much trouble all year as Sevilla did on a balmy night in the Spanish capital.
The Europa League winners had not attempted to continue where they had left off against Liverpool, dominating possession, and instead focused on counter attacks and set pieces, managing to threaten Barca with both.
Indeed, Barcelona were reduced to ten men when Kevin Gameiro, a transfer target for the Liga champs, rolled Javier Mascherano on a quick break. The French international was about to race through on goal when Mascherano dragged him to the ground, avoiding a penalty by only a matter of inches but still earning himself a red card.
After that the Europa League champions were on top, forcing Barca backwards until they became an unrecognisably reserved side, wasting time and holding on in hope of extra time.
They took the game to an extra half-hour, but crucially with the playing resources even once again.
Ever Banega, majestic throughout as he was in Basel, saw red in the dying moments for a professional foul on Neymar and the momentum lurched back towards the Nou Camp club.
And Alba’s goal in the first period of extra time earned Barcelona the double they have so deserved this season, before Neymar’s late second started the party 30 seconds early.
This post has already been read 664 times!