Barça's night of bliss as they win the right to dream (3-0)
Koeman's team lifts the tie thanks to a saving goal from Piqué and will play in the Cup final (3-0)
BarcelonaBeauty will save the world and a good game will save Barça. The same week in which the public image of the club was sinking a little further, a night of madness opened the door to the final of the Copa del Rey to a Barça that rose from the ashes when it seemed eliminated. Turning the Copa into the tournament of miracles, with extra time and saving goals, Koeman's team got rid of Sevilla (3-0) in one of those matches that make you kiss those you shouldn't kiss, wake up the neighbours who do not watch football, and run down the corridor as if you were Dembélé. That's the Barça need, to jump for joy again like Piqué celebrating his goal.
Barça could have given up and surrendered to a cruel fate, slowly unravelling. But in a club beset by problems, football has become a refuge for hope. Thanks to a last-minute goal from Piqué, a penalty save by Ter Stegen and a flawless team performance, Barça qualified for their ninth cup final in the last 11 years, and earned the chance to redeem themselves for the Supercopa defeat in the same city where they lost the final. And in the process, they wiped away some of the stains that have littered the crest because of the bad decisions of the people who occupied the box until recently. It's not easy to focus on your job when you don't have a president, the previous one is passing through the police station and whoever arrives on Sunday will have to negotiate a pay cut. But Koeman has managed to do so for a few days now, encouraging a squad that has understood that the destiny lies in starting to build the future, rather than mourning the past.
The team made the three presidential candidates salivate, sitting together in the box, condemned to celebrate the comeback with their rivals. Once again opting for a system with three centre-backs, Koeman's team made Sevilla lose their shape and could have suffered more if Barça had been more clinical. The match was written with the fine line of a surprising Pedri. The Canary Islander recovered in record time from the injury suffered in the first leg, and put in a memorable performance. If he always found space in attack, when Barça lost the ball he always got it back, as if he had 10 legs. Piqué, who had become a tenor that made his voice heard throughout the Camp Nou, accompanied Mingueza's growth in defence. Alba and Dest opened up the field, even though the young American lost almost every direct duel. And Messi, without having his best day, attracted opponents to create space for players like Dembélé, that youngster who makes us all feel old and suffer a generational crisis because he doesn't understand what he's doing. As if he were one of those urban artists who perform filigrees in the streets without people being clear about their meaning, Dembélé invents ways of expressing himself with his feet, sometimes without meaning, as in his goal, a dry shot after having missed the best angle for it. In a Barça always on the move, he scored without moving. In a sport where you have to find gaps, he invented them, giving way to a azulgranas' siege that continued in the second half, in which Ter Stegen added to the work by saving, with 20 minutes to go, a penalty from Mingueza on Ocampos. Without his save, nothing would have been the same.
This Copa has become the tournament of small miracles. When all seemed lost, Griezmann, who had replaced Dest, made a cross that Piqué headed home. Few people explain Barça as well as he does, a man who could have decided to hang up his boots years ago, but who prefers to give his all defending his Barça. And in fact he ended up injured in an extra-time period in which Lopetegui's team, who had been reduced to 10 men for Fernando's red card, lost their tempers protesting any action to the referee. And it was Braithwaite who scored the third goal. The goal that opens the door to a final for a team that defended the honour of the club in the best way. Attacking, enjoying, being brave. And winning, of course, even though they had to suffer in the final minutes, in order to make the comeback sweeter.