The balance with Real Sociedad was not broken until the shootout thanks to Ter Stegen
The German goalkeeper repelled the first two shots from Real Sociedad and the post helped him in the third
Dembélé and Pjanic got it right, De Jong and Griezmann missed theirs and Riqui Puig scored the last
Since 1998, in the final of the Copa del Rey, Barça did not face a penalty shoot-out. The victory that that title brought against Mallorca continued 22 and a half years later thanks, mainly, to success of Marc André Ter Stegen, whose magical hands (avoided defeat in the 120 minutes) repelled the first two shots from Real Sociedad.
Ter Stegen stopped two pitches (to Bautista and Oyarzabal) and the post kept him unbeaten. The batch was on track despite the failure of De Jong (at the post) after the successes of Dembélé and Pjanic, but Griezmann wasted another, with a shot that flew into the clouds, yielding the hero role to Riqui Puig, signer of 2-3.
Messi, in the standsWithout Messi, with muscular discomfort suffering in the stands, Barça went ahead with a beautiful goal from De Jong but Real equalized the score thanks to a penalty at the beginning of the second half transformed by Oyarzabal. The equality could only be undone two hours later.
Messi and Dest left Granada with discomfort and rested in Córdoba. Araujo, the third, had healed completely and served as center-back without blemish. Mingueza it was the right back. To fill the captain there was division of tasks. Griezmann tried to be the false nine that helps the midfielders, Dembélé took care of the stopped ball and De Jong scored the goal.
Creating game, especially dangerous actions, the most difficult, was a joint mission. Nobody assumed it. Each one had enough to solve his own thing when he received the ball. What should be the favorite moment for anyone, became the most distressing due to the pressure of the Real. Each player was paired with a Barça player to cancel any initiative. Neither play nor think. Nor much less acquire a general, collective perspective, which would give meaning to the intermittent Barça game.
The rigor was extraordinary on the blue and white side, of an outstanding constancy, much more insistent and disciplined than Barça, less self-sacrificing and less experienced. La Real pressed so high that Ter Stegen suffered from hypertension all night trying to give the least dangerous pass, not the most favorable.
The episodes of fatigue of the Real, which started the two parts like a shot but and reached the extension more fully, relieved more than the gol de De Jong. Moments before seeing the Dutchman invade the area like the nine that Barça did not have -Griezmann gave the center and Braithwaite ran from the left end-, Koeman’s box could already string together some possession, and the one that led to 0-1 it was the longest. Initiated, precisely, by a robbery by De Jong, an exemplary multipurpose player: the devoted recuperator, the fine auctioneer.
At 23, De Jong has the physical capacity to run from area to area – he was also in his own to commit the penalty for the draw – and demonstrated quality, which is now beginning to show at Barça with the regularity that was expected and that is not has produced until Koeman changed the system and made him responsible for the entire right wing of the team.
The problem of fame
De Jong was seen, but Pedri was swallowed by Guridi. The Canarian footballer warned the disadvantages of fame. Guridi devoted his performance to Pedri, Messi’s potential lookalike, disappearing like the great Leo. From time to time, the Dembélé train passed to ruffle Monreal, without ever running over the defender.
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La Real repeated the procedure of the first half, convinced of the approach, and the success came thanks to a penalty of Oyarzabal. The accumulated fatigue somewhat reduced the degree of the blue and white pressure, but Barça had similar difficulties to progress in the field since they tried to do it step by step, standing up, except when it was impossible and Ter Stegen had to find a forward who offered. . Just to get the pass. Turning it into an elaborate play required a more expensive process.
Real society: Remiro (8); Gorosabel (6), Zubeldia (6), Le Normand (5), Monreal (6); Guridi (4), Guevara (6), Merino (6); Portu (4), Isak (7), Oyarzabal (7).
Technical: Imanol Alguacil (7).
Changes: Barrenetxea (6) by Guridi (m. 81); Willian Joseph (5) for Isaac (d. 91); Zaldua (6) by Gorosabel (m. 91); Januzaj (sc) for Portu (m. 103); Zubimendi (sc) for Guevara (m. 105); Bautista (sc) by Zaldua (m. 119).
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (9); Mingueza (6), Araújo (7), Lenglet (6), Alba (5); De Jong (7), Busquets (6), Pedri (5); Dembélé (6), Griezmann (6), Braithwaite (5).
Technical: Ronald Koeman (6).
Changes: Trincâo (5) by Braithwaite (m. 78); Riqui Puig () by Pedri (m. 91); Pjanic () by Busquets (m. 91); Junior (sc) for Mingueza (m. 114).
GOALS: 0-1 (m. 39), De Jong heads a cross from Griezmann; 1-1 (m. 50), Oyarzabal, from a penalty;
REFEREE: Munuera Montero (4), Andalusian.
CARDS: Dembélé (m.53), Le Normand (m. 57), Mingueza (m. 96),
STADIUM: New Archangel of Córdoba.