Barça loses Copa del Rey to MadridApril 17, 2014
It’s been a tough fortnight. First FIFA bans Barça from transferring players for 14 months; their Champions League hopes are dashed by Atletico Madrid; losing against Granada makes the league title unlikely; and last night Real Madrid beat them to win the Copa del Rey, the only major trophy Barça had a realistic chance of winning.
Things went wrong early on, when Di María scored in the tenth minute. While Barcelona did bounce back and dominated possession, once again they were unable to break through Madrid’s defence. Leo Messi had a chance as the break approached but the first half ended with Madrid one goal ahead.
Back in after the break it looked for a moment that Madrid had scored again, only to have the goal disallowed. Finally Bartra levelled 20 minuted into the second half, putting the Catalans back into contention.
With stalemate on the pitch it was starting to look as if the match would go to extra time as the clock was ticking towards the end of the second half. But then, seven minutes from the end Bale put Real Madrid ahead again. In the final minutes Neymar came close to forcing the match to extra time but in the end the final whistle blew with Madrid taking the title.
While FC Barcelona were not at their best, it’s not the worst they’ve played recently either. However, Messi was noticeably absent from much of the action once again. The club needs to find out how to return him to form, but the club should also build a team that is so reliant on a single player.
Whether an on form Messi would have made a difference last night or any of the recent run of poor results is unknown. But with no chance of signing new players for more than a year, next season is looking like it might be lost already.
Di María (min 10)
Bartra (min 66)
Bale (min 83)