2014 Copa del Rey Final: FC Barcelona: Route to the Final

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

A round-by-round recap of FC Barcelona's route to the 2014 Copa del Rey final, complete with a few statistics on the campaign

For the third time in the past four seasons, FC Barcelona negotiated their way through four rounds of knockout action to book their place in the final of the Copa del Rey, where they will be looking to secure their second winners medal in just three seasons. Standing in their way are arch-rivals Real Madrid, who are also contesting their third final in four seasons, having lost last season’s showdown with Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.

As kick-off draws nearer, let’s take a look back at the 2013-2014 Copa del Rey, and relive FC Barcelona’s route to the final:

FC BARCELONA

Round of 32: FC Barcelona 7-1 FC Cartagena

After all this time, it’s easy to forget just how ominously FC Barcelona’s Copa del Rey campaign begun. Travelling south along the coast to the Estadio Cartagonova, Barcelona actually fell behind to their Segunda 2B hosts, as former Sevilla striker Fernando struck to gift Cartagena a surprise lead. Having entered the match off the back of two successive defeats (to Celtic and Athletic Bilbao), there were a few nervous moments, but the Blaugrana’s quality eventually shone through. Pedro grabbed a brace, with Cesc Fàbregas and Jean-Marie Dongou each helping themselves to a goal during their time at centre-forward.

This provided Barcelona with a healthy cushion headed into the second leg at the Camp Nou, a match which was characterised by some valiant defending from the plucky visitors, who again were eventually overwhelmed by the quality of the Barcelona line-up. Pedro opened the Barça scoring for the second Copa match in succession before Cristian Tello and Neymar added the exclamation mark with goals of their own. All in all, a fairly predictable and comfortable start for the reigning La Liga champions

Round of 16: FC Barcelona 6-0 Getafe CF

From this point onwards, Barcelona were paired with La Liga opposition, not that it initially made any difference. Getafe made the familiar trip from the Spanish capital into Catalunya and probably would have wished that they stayed at home, returning to Madrid empty-handed after a 4-0 first-leg defeat. Cesc Fàbregas again led the Barcelona attack, scoring a goal in either half before the returning Lionel Messi mesmerised us all with a sensational brace of his own as a late substitute – including this incredible solo effort.

That made the return leg something of a formality, but Barcelona turned up and still produced the goods at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez. In a match that was arguably overshadowed by a nasty looking injury suffered by summer signing Neymar, Lionel Messi helped himself to another brace, emphasising the gulf in quality between the two sides over the 180 minutes of football.

Quarter-Final: FC Barcelona 9-2 Levante UD

Much like the very first match of the Copa campaign, this was another mismatch, but somehow the underdog hosts took the lead; Nabil el Zhar poked home the rebound after his initial effort was saved by Jose Manuel Pinto to send the crowd wild at the Ciutat de Valencia. Their delight however, was ultimately short-lived. After holding out for the entirety of the first-half and for the opening stages of the second, Levante committed a fatal error – as Loukas Vyntra rather amusingly hammered a clearance off his defensive colleague and club captain Juanfran to gift Barcelona an equaliser. With the scores tied, Lionel Messi weaved his usual magic and astonishingly assisted each goal of a Cristian Tello hat-trick to secure a 4-1 away win.

Barcelona again fell behind in the second-leg as Levante momentarily threatened to overturn the three-goal deficit, but Barça soon bounced back. In unerring fashion, the Blaugrana delighted the Camp Nou crowd with a Manita of goals, courtesy of Alexis Sánchez (who got two), Adriano Correia, Cesc Fàbregas and club captain Carles Puyol.

Semi-Final: FC Barcelona 3-1 Real Sociedad

Compared to the other semi-final, Barcelona probably got the easiest path to the final, but Real Sociedad are a tough opponent and could easily pulled off an upset over two legs in this tie. In fact, they threatened to do just that in the early stages of the first-leg, but their resolve was broken by the most unlikeliest of candidates: Sergio Busquets. Pouncing on an errant shot from Pedro, Busquets stabbed the Blaugrana in front and the ensuing chaos left Sociedad with a man disadvantage as Inigo Martinez had a less-than pleasant chat with the referee. For the second-time this campaign, the next goal was courtesy of a thoughtless clearance from the opposing defense – this time Alexis Sánchez hit the post and this alone was enough to prompt Gorka Elustondo to thump the ball off his keeper and into the back of the net.

Even with a two-goal advantage, this tie was still there for the taking. Real Sociedad boast an incredible record at the Anoeta, especially against FC Barcelona – but to their credit, the Blaugrana not only managed to surpass this obstacle, they nearly travelled back to Catalunya with a victory. Lionel Messi put Barça ahead after a lengthy spell of impressive play, only for Antoine Griezmann to grab a late equaliser.

Overall Record

7W – 1D – 0L
25 GF – 4 GA

Top Scorers

Most Assists

Minutes

1. Lionel Messi (5 goals)

1. Lionel Messi (3 assists)

1. Jose Pinto (720 minutes)

2. Cesc Fàbregas (4 goals)

2. Alexis Sánchez (3 assists)

2. Cesc Fàbregas (554 minutes)

3. Cristian Tello (3 goals)

3. Cesc Fàbregas (2 assists)

3. Sergi Roberto (540 minutes)

4. Pedro Rodriguez (3 goals)

4. Martin Montoya (1 assist)

4. Pedro (537 minutes)

5. Alexis Sánchez (2 goals)

5. Cristian Tello (1 assist)

5. Adriano (529 minutes)

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