Lionel Messi stars as Barcelona thrash Celta Vigo in the cup
Copa del Rey Last 16, Camp Nou - Barcelona 5 (Messi 13', 15', Alba 28', Suarez 31', Rakitic 87') Celta Vigo 0
This was predicted to be a tough test for Ernesto Valverde’s men having drawn the first leg 1-1 away from home, but it took the hosts just 28 minutes to establish a stunning 3-0 lead following a double from Messi and a strike by Alba.
Lionel Messi Getty Images
Celta Vigo had no answer for the brilliance of Barcelona and were out of the contest as soon as the third goal went in. From that moment on, both sides went through the motions, with Luis Suarez making the most of some slack play at the back to score a fourth before the break.
Ivan Rakitic added his name to the score-sheet late on as Barca eased into the final eight of the competition. The Camp Nou side have won the Copa del Rey more times than any other club in Spain and on this basis, they are the favourites to win another.
This was the night Barcelona truly embraced Ernesto Valverde. Around the hour mark, a chant rung round the Camp Nou - ‘Valverde, Valverde!’ This might seem somewhat unremarkable, given that many teams chant the name of their manager, but until now the Barcelona support have been respectable, but not loving, of their head coach. This performance showed that, under the former Athletic Bilbao boss, Barca are on top again, and the home fans responded.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jordi Alba (Barcelona) The Barcelona left-back has been completely liberated by the exit of Neymar in the summer and is back to his best form. Alba was involved in the first three goals and showed more signs of his natural understanding with Messi, dominating play down the left side of the pitch. There have been questions asked of Alba in years gone by, but he is in the form of his life at the moment.
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (R) celebrates with Barcelona's Spanish defender Jordi Alba after scoring his second goal during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King's Cup) round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs RC Celta de Vigo at tGetty Images
Celta Vigo - Sergio 6, Mallo 5, Gomez 5, Fontas 5, Jonny 4, Lobotka 6, Jozabed 5, Wass 5, Aspas 6, Sisto 4, Gomez 5. Subs - Radoja 5, Mendez 4, Gomez 4.
13’ GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Celta Vigo (2-1 on aggregate): Barcelona have the opener and it has come through Messi! Good play down the left, Alba gets the cross into the Argentine and he makes no mistake in guiding a finish past Sergio!
15’ GOAL! Barcelona 2-0 Celta Vigo (3-1 on aggregate): Barcelona and Messi have scored a quick-fire second goal! It's that same link up again, with Alba crossing for the Barca number 10, who angles a low finish into the back of the net. Fantastic play.
28’ GOAL! Barcelona 3-0 Celta Vigo (4-1 on aggregate): Barcelona have a third goal! The provider has become the goalscorer. Alba put on an assist for the first two goals, but this time the left back hooks a finish past Sergio from a tight angle.
30’ GOAL! Barcelona 4-0 Celta Vigo (5-1 on aggregate): Incredible! Barcelona have scored a fourth goal in this first half! This time, Celta Vigo play themselves into trouble and Suarez makes them pay with a very clinical finish.
Luis Suárez Getty Images
87’ GOAL! Barcelona 5-0 Celta Vigo (6-1 on aggregate): The finishing touches are put on an impressive win for the home side! Every Celta defender went to the near post and Rakitic was left unmarked to head home a Dembele corner kick.
Lionel Messi has had a hand in 24 goals in his last 14 games in the Copa del Rey.
Jordi Alba has assisted Lionel Messi for seven goals this season (in all competitions), more than any other Barcelona player.