Cillessen is too good just to play in the Copa del Rey
It’s not news that Jasper Cillessen is the best back-up goalkeeper in the world, but in case anyone wasn’t sure he put in another performance to showcase just how good he is.
The Dutch star saved brilliantly from Andre Silva after 23 minutes, pushing his shot from close range on to the post at full stretch.
He then went one better to deny Banega from the penalty spot. And let’s face it the Argentine is pretty good at spot-kicks.
1 - After 13 penalties shots, Ever Banega has failed his first one for Sevilla in all competitions. Psycho pic.twitter.com/VIi43Eaa5a— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 30, 2019
Indeed it took something pretty special to beat Cillessen, a rocket from Arana saw the Dutchman finally beaten and briefly offered the visitors some hope.
It’s not the first time Cillessen has starred for Barcelona, but it’s quite possible it might be one of the last.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s excellence means the Dutch star is reduced to a bench role at Barca, and he’s likely to only play in the Copa del Rey between now and the end of the season. That’s three more games if Barca make it all the way to the final.
Cillessen deserves better and it would be no surprise if he were to be lured away in the summer. He may only be a bit-part player but if he does leave he will be missed.
Coutinho is smiling again
There have been a few signs over recent weeks that Philippe Coutinho was slowly returning to form after a rough patch, but he was back with a bang against Sevilla.
The Brazilian may have been surprised to be handed the ball for Barcelona’s penalty, but he was ice cool with his spot-kick that gave Juan Soriano no chance even though he went the right way.
He was lively all night in attack and fully deserved his second goal after the break. This time it was a rare header after a lovely ball in from Luis Suarez.
Coutinho thought he had his hat-trick shortly afterwards too after smashing home a confident finish, only to see it ruled out for offside.
While Coutinho may not have gone home with the match ball, he will have departed with his confidence renewed and a smile back on his face after a superb display.
Barca won’t give up the Copa del Rey without a fight
Much has been said about Barcelona and the Copa del Rey and how seriously the club should be taking the competition given they have bigger fish to fry.
Ernesto Valverde’s line-up in the first leg suggested he was perhaps willing to sacrifice the tournament, but his team for the return and their performance suggested they won’t give it up without a fight.
This game always promised to be a thriller, with Sevilla 2-0 up from the first leg, and it did not disappoint as Barcelona really went for it and the whole team delivered.
Coutinho bagged a brace, Messi simmered throughout, Cillessen produced some big saves, Rakitic, Sergi Roberto and Luis Suarez were all on target, while Arthur was inspired in midfield and Gerard Pique shone in deence.
The win propels Barcelona into the last four and leaves them on track to lift the trophy for a fifth year in a row. It also means that the treble is still very much on...