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May 14, 2009

FC Barcelona - 4, Bilbao - 1

FC Barcelona ended their two year droght of silverware with an emphatic win against Athletic Bilbao at the Mestalla. Yesterday's triump also ends a eleven year wait for the "Copa Del Rey" title. The last time FC Barcelona won the cup Guardiola was a team member and it might be destiny that this has to be his first title as FC Barcelona coach. FC Barcelona almost won the La Liga title last week but only to throw away the match against Villareal. May be this explains why we didn't win it last week, but we surely will win it this week. Now only Manchester United stands in Barca's way of an unprecedented treble. Athletic Bilbao went ahead in the ninth minute but FC Barcelona equalled through Toure in the first half. Then Messi, Bojan and Xavi all scored for Barca in the second half to get hold of their first silverware of this season. Guardiola started with a very strong side dor the final. As is the case in King's cup, Pinto kept the goal. Puyol and Alves played the full backs role whereas Toure and Pique formed the central defense. Xavi, Keita and Busquets formed an ultra slow midfield. Messi, Eto and Bojan formed the front trio.

FC Barcelona started the match slowly. Actually the midfield of Keita and Busquets were contributing to it. Athletic showed more aggression in the opening phase and was rewarded by a goal when Toquero headed home from a corner in teh 8th minute. Barca's response took some time, again Keita and Busqutes were slowing down the pace and creativity from the middle. Bojan and Eto both had decent chances in the first 25 minutes but held on to the ball for more than necessary and gave the defense chances to close down. Barca were going nowhere when an inspirational Toure ran with the ball getting past some defenders and then shot low from 30 yards out beating the goal keeper in the 22nd minute. That equaliser suddenly woke up Barca and But Barca cannot convert their dominance into goal in the rest of first half.

FC Barcelona started excellently in the second half. Messi particularly troubled the defense with his silky runs. In the 55th minute Eto's shot was blocked by goal keeper, but Messi fired the rebound through the defense. Then in the 58th minute Messi placed the ball to Bojan; Bojan continued his run and produced an exquisite finish to put Barca 3-1 ahead. Then in the 64th minute Xavi, who has been Barca's best player on the pitch, finished the match as a contest with a well taken free kick. Barca reduced their intensity after the fourth goal but still saw Eto, Hleb and Alves going close to scoring the fifth.

In the end Barca, it has to be said that Barca deserved the title for the spectacular showing they put up on the pitch. They were well ahead of their rivals, especially in the second half. Guardiola might have given up how his central defense will look in the Champions League final. BUt what worries me most is his persistence of putting Keita and Busquets together in the midfield. Bojan had a good game and as I said in the preview should be given the start in Rome if Henry is not available. Messi had a good game and should now be primed to gather all the individual awards next year. Champions League is a big task but for the time being that can be in the back seet. This is a moment for all Barca fans to celebrate as this is our first trophy is two years. Let's all hope this Cop Del Rey victory is only a sample of good thing that are going to come next in thise and coming seasons.

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