MX23RW : Sunday, September 19 10:39:03| >> :60:2199:2199:
May 30, 2015 at 8.30pm UK at Camp Nou, Barcelona
Athletic Bilbao
1-3
Barcelona
Williams (79')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Messi (20', 74'), Neymar (36')

Match Analysis: Athletic Bilbao 1-3 Barcelona

Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action as Barcelona win the 2015 Copa del Rey with a 3-1 win over Athletic Bilbao.

Barcelona won the Copa del Rey for a 27th time with a 3-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao in the 2015 final on Saturday.

Lionel Messi scored twice for the Catalan outfit, while Neymar was also on the scoresheet as Barcelona's front three made it 120 goals between them for the season.

Bilbao scored late on through Inaki Williams, but the Basque outfit were second best on the night.

Here, Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action at the Camp Nou.

Match statistics

BILBAO
Shots: 8
On target: 3
Possession: 27%
Corners: 2
Fouls: 29

BARCELONA
Shots: 12
On target: 7
Possession: 73%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 12

Was the result fair?

Even the most ardent of Bilbao supporters would find it difficult to make a case for their team here. The early exchanges were tight, but as soon as Barcelona found their range, it was one-way traffic, especially in the first period. The first goal was always going to be important and it came in incredible circumstances when Messi dribbled past five or six players before finding the bottom corner. Bilbao managed to resist the 10-minute onslaught that followed, but they conceded a second in the 36th minute when Neymar finished from close range. In fairness to Bilbao, they improved in the second period, but clear chances remained few and far between and they were always struggling to make their mark in attack.

At 2-0, Bilbao needed to score the game's third goal, but it came for Barcelona, with Messi scoring his second in the 74th minute. Bilbao did respond 10 minutes from time through Williams, who had an impressive game, but it was always a tough ask at that stage of events. Statistics rarely paint a false picture and the fact that Barcelona dominated all of the major areas at the Camp Nou is an indication of what occurred. Luis Enrique's side had four more attempts on target than Bilbao and 73% of the ball possession. There is no question that the right team collected the 2015 Copa del Rey trophy in Barcelona.

Bilbao's performance

When the team-sheets were handed in before kickoff, it did appear that Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde had packed his midfield. However, as it transpired, Williams played right alongside leading scorer Aritz Aduriz, with Mikel Rico moving into a wide position. As touched upon, Bilbao actually started the game quite well, but they were fortunate not to concede in the 10th minute when Neymar found the back of the net, only for the offside flag to be raised in what was a tight call. It took a moment of absolute genius from Messi to open the scoring and Bilbao had to rely on their goalkeeper Iago Herrerin to make a number of smart saves in the period that followed. Bilbao could not stop a second goal going in, however, with Neymar converting in the 36th minute after excellent work from Luis Suarez. Bilbao's best chance of the first period came in the 42nd minute when Williams met a cross from Andoni Iraola, but the striker's effort clipped the top of the crossbar.

Bilbao improved in the second period, but they were still struggling to create opportunities, with Aduriz lacking service in the final third. The game was over as a contest when Messi scored his second in the 74th minute, but it was a very avoidable goal from Bilbao's point of view. Dani Alves's low cross should have been cut out, but young defender Unai Bustinza went to sleep and Messi was allowed to poke home at the near post. Bilbao did end the match in positive fashion, however, and scored a consolation when Williams headed a super Ibai Gomez cross into the back of the net. It is difficult to be too critical of Bilbao's performance, with Barcelona just in wonderful form once again. The fact that the final took place at the Camp Nou made it even more difficult for Bilbao, but their fans turned up in their numbers and absolutely raised the roof. The Basque side played well in patches, but never really did enough on the night.

Barcelona's performance

What more can be said about this team? Are they better than Pep Guardiola's stunning outfit? There were no surprises in Enrique's team selection, with Suarez passed fit to take his spot in the front three. It was Barca's strongest available XI and it is a side that has everything. They should have been ahead in the 10th minute when Neymar converted a super cross from Messi, but the Brazilian was ruled offside when replays suggested that he was level with the final defender. Suarez had another chance shortly after, but a mazy run and excellent finish from Messi broke the deadlock in the 20th minute. Neymar and Gerard Pique should have added to the scoring in the 10-minute period that followed, but a second goal did arrive through Neymar 10 minutes before the break. Bilbao had a couple of decent moments in the first 45 minutes, but there were signs that Barcelona were ready to dish out yet another hiding.

As it transpired, Barcelona's level dropped in the second 45 minutes, which is not too much of a surprise when considering that they have the Champions League final to come on June 6. Suarez came close to adding a third just before the hour, but it was Messi that again made the difference 15 minutes from time when he met a low cross from Alves. It did appear that the Catalan outfit would secure yet another clean sheet, but they conceded late on through Williams, who proved a threat all night. As expected, Barcelona were the firm favourites entering the match, but they still needed to go out and perform, which is not always the easiest thing to do. Messi stole the show, but Neymar and Suarez were once again excellent, with the front three just unstoppable in this form. They have been the best team throughout the Copa del Rey this season and are certainly deserving winners. It is now two trophies down and one - an important one - to go.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Lionel Messi: It is difficult to find words to describe the Argentine, who once again hit a brace to take his tally to 58 goals for the season. Messi's first, as described, was quite sensational, while he showed his predatory instincts to score a second in the latter stages. Bilbao were clearly worried every time the attacker picked up possession and his playmaking abilities have really come to the fore this season.

Biggest gaffe

It is never nice to pick out players, especially ones that are so inexperienced. However, Bilbao defender Bustinza will not look too fondly on Barcelona's third goal. The 23-year-old simply went to sleep inside the box and Messi was allowed to nip in and convert a low cross from Alves. It was an extremely avoidable goal from Bilbao's point of view, and their inexperienced defence struggled to deal with the Barcelona forward-line for long spells. Mistakes at this level are almost always punished.

Referee performance

As expected, it was a busy game for referee Carlos Velasco, who issued seven yellow cards at the Camp Nou. The Spaniard was more than prepared to let the game flow in the correct areas, but there were a number of dangerous challenges that went unpunished. Velasco was forced into action late on to deal with an incident involving Neymar and a number of Bilbao players, but the official managed to regain control fairly quickly. There was an underlying tension throughout the game, but Velasco was almost always quickly on the scene and did well under the circumstances.

What next?

Bilbao: It was not the final that Bilbao would have wanted, but they can look back on a strong season and start preparing for more European football during the 2015-16 campaign.

Barcelona: Barcelona have now won La Liga and the Copa del Rey this season. They will have the chance to make it a treble when they face Juventus in the Champions League final on June 6.

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Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates his goal past Barcelona's Brazilian defender Dani Alves during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King's Cup) final football match Athletic Club Bilbao vs FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Atletico MadridAtletico532074311
2Real Madrid4310136710
3Valencia431092710
4Athletic Bilbao52304139
5Real Sociedad43016429
6Osasuna52216608
7Sevilla32105147
8Rayo Vallecano52128537
9Barcelona32107437
10Mallorca42113307
11ElcheElche51313306
12Real Betis41214405
13CadizCadiz512268-25
14Levante504167-14
15Villarreal30302203
16Espanyol402213-22
17Granada402227-52
18Celta Vigo5014410-61
19Getafe500518-70
20AlavesAlaves4004110-90

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