Barcelona Cruise to Copa del Rey Triumph, Beat Alaves 3-1 in Final

Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2017

Barcelona's forward Paco Alcacer celebrates after scoring during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King's Cup) final football match FC Barcelona vs Deportivo Alaves at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on May 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Josep LAGO        (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)
JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

Barcelona didn't have any trouble handling Deportivo Alaves in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday, easily winning 3-1 to add some silverware to their collection in manager Luis Enrique's final match at the helm of the club.

Theo Hernandez gave Alaves some hope after Lionel Messi opened the score, but a late double from Neymar and Paco Alcacer meant the final was all but over at half-time at the Vicente Calderon.

The pace dropped tremendously in the second half, allowing the Catalans to play the match out with little fuss.

Here's a look at the Barcelona XI, where Jasper Cillessen replaced Marc-Andre ter Stegen:

Alaves shared this short video of their team:

The match got off to a flying start, with both teams showing plenty of intensity. Barcelona dominated possession early, but Alaves showed no fear of the Catalan giants and countered with aggression.

Javier Mascherano was an early casualty, as he clashed heads with Marcos Llorente and left the pitch on a stretcher. While there was little the Alaves man could do about the incident, the Basques didn't make themselves popular with their aggressive approach elsewhere.

Edgar Antonio Mendez was lucky he only saw yellow for a foul on Samuel Umtiti, with replays suggesting he stamped on his marker after the initial challenge. Messi wanted a penalty after an accidental trip from Theo, but the official didn't budge.

Ibai Gomez went close to opening the score, firing a shot off the post, but the goal fell on the other side of the pitch. Messi played a smart one-two with Neymar before slotting home. Samuel Marsden of Sport was not surprised:

The Blaugrana couldn't enjoy their lead for long, however. Minutes after the opener, Theo curled home a smart free-kick, noticing Cillessen wasn't in a great position to make the save.

Sports writer Simon Harrison believes the future Real Madrid man is one to keep an eye on:

Messi had the chance to respond with a free-kick but fired it straight at goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco.

With half-time approaching, a stalemate seemed inevitable, but there was plenty of late drama. First, Neymar capped off a clever attack with an easy finish, and deep into stoppage time, Alcacer added to the advantage with a clean strike. Per B/R's Karl Matchett, the final was all but decided:

Alaves employed an even more aggressive game plan to start the second half, with Rodrigo Ely earning a booking for raising his arm in a duel and Manu Garcia risking a second yellow for more dissent.

Barcelona kept their cool, calmly passing the ball around as time ticked away. Alaves needed a change and brought on Ruben Sobrino, who immediately added a new element to the attack, but Cillessen remained relatively unchallenged.

Deyverson thought he had scored, only to have his goal called back for offside. ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan appreciated the effort the Basques put in:

Neymar wanted a penalty after minor contact with Sobrino, with the Brazilian making a meal out of the challenge.

Aleix Vidal celebrated his return to the pitch with a late appearance as a substitute, his first outing since he suffered an ankle injury against Alaves in February. Both he and Enrique got a standing ovation as the clock wound down, with Barcelona easily holding on to their lead.