Barcelona will take on La Liga rivals Athletic Club in the final of the 2020-21 Copa del Rey on April 17 at the Estadio de La Cartuja in Seville.
Athletic booked their place in the showpiece on Thursday after overcoming Levante 3-2 on aggregate. The two teams drew 1-1 in the first leg at San Mames with Athletic winning the return 2-1 after extra-time.
Meanwhile, Barcelona booked their place in the final on Wednesday in dramatic fashion. The Catalan giants came back from a 2-0 first-leg loss at Sevilla to win 3-0 at the Camp Nou after extra-time.
It’s the 42nd time Barcelona have reached the final of the Copa del Rey and the 10th time in the last 13 seasons. Coach Ronald Koeman will now be hoping to land the trophy for the 31st time in the club’s illustrious history.
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Koeman Talks Copa Comeback
Koeman was more than happy with his team after seeing his players fight back against Sevilla to reach the final. The Dutch coach said after the match he never lost hope that his team could pull off the comeback needed, as 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.
The win means Koeman has the chance to lift his first silverware as Barcelona manager against Athletic. The Dutchman lifted the Copa del Rey as a player with Barcelona in 1990 and as the manager of Valencia in 2008.
Barca Out For Athletic Revenge?
Yet Barcelona face a tough test against an Athletic side they have already faced three times this season in all competitions. The Catalan giants have beaten Athletic home and away in La Liga in 2020-21 but were beaten 3-2 by the Basque side in the final of the Spanish Super Cup in January.
A dramatic game in Malaga saw Athletic secure a late equalizer to send the game into extra-time time before netting a winner through Asier Villalibre. Barca then lost Lionel Messi to the first red card of his career with the Catalan giants late on in a painful defeat.
Athletic’s run to the final also means the club will play two Copa del Rey finals in the space of a couple of weeks in April. Marcelino’s men will play Basque rivals Real Sociedad in the final of the 2019-20 Copa del Rey, which has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, on April 4 and will then face Barca two weeks later.
Barcelona and Athletic have met each other nine times in the Copa del Rey with the Catalan giants winning six times, including the last meeeting back in 2015.