Copa del Rey: Barca beat Alaves to send off Enrique on high
Copa Del Rey By: Ambrose Udeme | 27/05/2017
Barcelona gave Luis Enrique a befitting send-off as they beat Alaves 3-1 to win the Copa del Rey for a record 29th time in the Vicente Calderon’s last-ever game on Saturday.Alaves were holding Barcelona 1-1 after Theo erased Lionel Messi's 30th minute opener but the Catalans took a 3-1 lead into the break thanks to a late double from Neymar and Alcacer with Messi playing a big part in those two.The second half produced nothing as both sides failed to get on the score sheet with Barcelona holding on to their two goals cushion to see off the game and clinch their only trophy of the season.
Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique passed late fitness tests to start the Final, while Aleix Vidal appeared as a substitute for his first appearance since dislocating his ankle three months ago. However, Sergi Roberto and Luis Suarez were absent through suspension.FIRST HALFAlaves, meanwhile, were looking to lift the first Copa of their 96-year history, and an early chance saw Deyverson shake his man off in the Catalans’ box, but his cutback was intercepted before it could be tapped in by a teammate.Mascherano took a bloody gash to the head from Marcos Llorente in a mid-air collision, forcing him to leave the pitch on a stretcher, in what was possibly his last game for La Blaugrana.The Basques prevented their opponents from playing their usual passing game, albeit by stretching laws of the game, and Gerard Pique was caught napping when Ibai Gomez’s angled drive from the left deflected off Jasper Cillessen’s back, onto his near post, across the line but not over it.Straight at the other end, Paco Alcacer was denied from close range by Fernando Pacheco, but in trademark Messi fashion, the No 10 came in from the right, played a one-two with Neymar and bent a shot into the goalkeeper’s bottom-left corner.Yet Theo showed exactly why he was a reported target for both Barca and Real Madrid as he delightfully sent a free kick past Cillessen from around 25 yards out.Alaves seemingly did enough to take a 1-1 draw into the break, but Andre Gomes’ cutback was tucked away by Neymar at the far post.