Koeman lauds Barca mentality after 'incredible' Copa del Rey win over Sevilla

By Sports Desk March 03, 2021

Ronald Koeman was full of admiration for the mentality of his Barcelona players after they produced an "incredible" comeback to advance to the Copa del Rey final with a 3-0 win over Sevilla.

Barca started a dramatic second leg at Camp Nou on Wednesday with a two-goal deficit, but won the tie 3-2 on aggregate to set up a final against Athletic Bilbao or Levante.

The Catalan giants hit the headlines at the start of the week when ex-president Josep Maria Bartomeu was among those arrested on Monday – he was then provisionally released under charges of unfair administration and corruption of business – as part of a police investigation into last year's 'Barcagate' scandal. 

There was no sign of any turmoil as Ousmane Dembele put Barca in front early on and Gerard Pique made it 2-2 with a last-gasp header to force extra time midweek.

Lucas Ocampos had missed a chance to level on the night when his penalty was saved by Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen with 17 minutes remaining and Sevilla had Fernando sent off before Pique struck.

Martin Braithwaite put Barca in front early in extra time and Luuk de Jong – who had been substituted – was shown a red card on the touchline for dissent after Sevilla were denied another penalty.

Barca head coach Koeman hailed the character shown by his side, who also beat Sevilla 2-0 in LaLiga on Saturday.

The former Netherlands boss said in quotes reported by Marca: "We always believed. We never gave up on the Copa. It's a question of mentality.

"I, as a coach, can't ask my team to do more than what I've seen tonight. We fought until extra time and it's incredible. I'm very happy with the team's work tonight.

"We deserved to go through. I think we were better over the two legs. We were the best team."

Koeman added in a week that will end with the Barca presidential election: "We managed to score three goals and could've scored more. You can't ask for more."

Related items

  • Pique shows support to Cavallo after A-League player comes out as gay: 'You are helping the world move forward' Pique shows support to Cavallo after A-League player comes out as gay: 'You are helping the world move forward'

    Barcelona's Gerard Pique is among those to have shown his support to A-League player Josh Cavallo, who has come out as the first openly gay top-flight footballer in the world.

    Adelaide United defender Cavallo made the announcement in a video and open letter on social media on Wednesday.

    The news is a historic moment for sporting community and one Cavallo hopes will help others find the courage to follow in his steps.

    "I want to help change this," he said. "I want to show that everyone is welcome in the game of football and deserves the right to be their authentic self.

    "It is astonishing to know that there are currently no gay professional footballers who are out and actively playing, not only in Australia, but around the world. 

    "Hopefully this will change in the near future."

    Cavallo's announcement was met with widespread supporting, with Pique praising the 21-year-old for making the public announcement.

    "I don't have the pleasure to know you personally, but I want to thank you for this step that you take," Pique posted on Twitter. 

    "The world of football is far behind and you are helping us move forward."

    Pique's former Barca team-mate and current Atletico Madrid loanee Antoine Griezmann said: "Proud of you @JoshuaCavallo".

    Barca were one of a number of teams to commend Cavallo, posting: "THANK YOU, @JoshuaCavallo for taking a huge step forward! 

    "Your courage contributes to normalizing diversity in the world of sports."

    Premier League side Arsenal tweeted: "Thank you @JoshuaCavallo for your strength and bravery...

    "You are an inspiration to millions. Everyone deserves the right to be themselves."

    Several other top-flight players have previously come out as gay once their professional playing careers were over, including former Aston Villa player Thomas Hitzlsperger.

    Former Newcastle Jets player Andy Brennan came out while playing in a lower tier and is now plying his trade for semi-professional side Hume City.

  • Barcelona without injured forward Ansu Fati for Rayo Vallecano clash Barcelona without injured forward Ansu Fati for Rayo Vallecano clash

    Barcelona forward Ansu Fati has been ruled out of Wednesday's LaLiga clash against Rayo Vallecano with a knee injury.

    The Spain international, who signed a new long-term deal at Camp Nou last week, was substituted 16 minutes from time in Barca's Clasico defeat to Real Madrid on Sunday after sustaining a knock.

    Ronald Koeman revealed at his pre-match news conference ahead of the meeting with Vallecano that Fati was considered a doubt.

    He was not pictured travelling to Madrid with the Barca squad on Wednesday and the LaLiga heavyweights have confirmed the youngster will play no part at Estadio de Vallecas.

    A statement on Barcelona's official website read: "Ansu Fati has pain in his right knee. He is unavailable for selection and his recovery will dictate his return".

     

    Fati only returned from a 10-month knee injury lay-off, which saw him suffer a number of setbacks along the way, in Barca's 3-0 win over Levante on September 26.

    The teenage forward scored in that match and has featured a further five times in all competitions this term, with his only other goal coming against Valencia 10 days ago.

    He has scored 15 goals in 49 appearances for the Catalan giants in all competitions, a tally that is bettered only by Luis Suarez (21), Antoine Griezmann (35) and Messi (69) – none of whom are still at the club – since his debut 26 months ago.

    Koeman is also without fellow forwards Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite for the match with Vallecano, while Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and Ronald Araujo are also nursing injuries.

    Barca enter the match ninth in LaLiga, with their return of 15 goals after their first nine games their lowest tally at this stage of the campaign since 2003-04 when scoring 11 times.

  • Bayern Munich and France defender Lucas Hernandez avoids jail time after successful appeal Bayern Munich and France defender Lucas Hernandez avoids jail time after successful appeal

    Bayern Munich and France defender Lucas Hernandez has avoided jail time for disobeying a restraining order in 2017 after a Madrid court accepted his appeal.

    The 25-year-old appeared in court last week and was given until October 28 to voluntarily enter a prison of his choosing, where he faced a six-month sentence.

    However, the latest appeal Hernandez lodged was upheld by the Madrid Provincial High Court on Wednesday.

    Hernandez, a World Cup winner with France in 2018, has instead been handed a suspended sentence of four years and ordered to pay a €96,000 fine.

    "We consider that the appeal must be accepted and that the execution of the sentence of deprivation of liberty imposed on Lucas Francois Bernard Hernandez must be suspended," a statement from the court read.

    The charge relates to a conviction of domestic violence against then girlfriend and now wife Amelia de la Osa Lorente from five and a half years ago.

    He was sentenced to 31 days of community service at the time and barred from approaching or communicating with his partner for the next six months.

    Four months later, Hernandez was arrested at an airport in Madrid in the company of Lorente, whom he had since married. The couple also now have a child together.

    Hernandez was sentenced to six months in prison in 2019 as a result of breaching the order, with his appeal initially rejected due to being a repeat offender, but his latest appeal has been accepted.

    "Regarding his family and social circumstances, it has been highlighted in the appeal that the convicted person lives with Mrs de la Osa and their son, without any new incidents between them being recorded," the court statement added.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.