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Barca come from 2 goals down to reach cup final

By The Assam Tribune
Barca come from 2 goals down to reach cup final

Barcelona, March 4: FC Barcelona overcame a 2-0 first-leg deficit to book their place in the final of Spain's Copa del Rey knockout competition with a 3-0 win over Sevilla after an enthralling and controversial game at the Camp Nou.

Pedri was a surprise starter for Barca just days after being diagnosed with a calf injury, while Tomas Vaclik returned in goal for Sevilla on Wednesday, Xinhua news reports.

Barca started strongly and Dembele sent two shots over the bar before opening the scoring in the 12th minute when he was allowed space to twist and turn before producing a powerful shot which left Vaclik rooted to the spot.

Sevilla were unable to string any passes together due to Barca's pressure and consequently, Barca continued to lay siege on the Sevilla goal.

Pedri fired just wide and only a desperate clearance stopped Frenkie de Jong from scoring after a move between Messi and Jordi Alba, before Messi's effort was hooked off the line.

Barca kept up the pressure in the second half, with Pedri again causing problems, while a triple change from Sevilla with Ivan Rakitic, Jesus Navas, and Rekik replacing Carlos Acuna, Arturo Vidal, and Luuk de Jong also helped the visitors gain a little more control of the ball.

Jordi Alba smashed a volley against the post in the 66th minute after good work from Dembele who crossed to the far post.

By now Griezmann had replaced Sergino Dest for Barca, while Lucas Ocampos returned after injury as Sevilla looked for an away goal that would leave Barca needing to score four.

It looked as if it had worked to perfection in the 71st minute when Oscar Mingueza fouled Ocampos in the area and referee Sanchez Martinez awarded a penalty only for Ocampos to hit his spot-kick too close to Ter Stegen who made a vital save to give Barca a lifeline.

The closing minutes saw Ronald Koeman's side almost parked in the Sevilla area. Pedri had a header saved and Messi saw a shot blocked as Sevilla defended desperately.

Fernando was sent off for a second yellow card after fouling Trincao and although Messi's free-kick was deflected out for a corner, Sevilla failed to clear and Griezmann crossed for Gerard Pique's header to send the game into extra time.

With Sevilla down to 10 men, the Barca siege continued and Martin Braithwaite's diving header four minutes into extra time put them 3-0 ahead.

Sevilla were then furious to see a penalty appeal turned down as the ball hit Clement Lenglet on the arm, after the referee decided the ball had hit the defender on his chest first and waved play on after consulting with the VAR.

Barca will face either Levante or Athletic Club Bilbao, who play the return of their semi-finals on Thursday.

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