Barça beat Espanyol on penalties tonight at the Camp d’Esports de Lleida to win the 24th edition of the Copa Catalunya. Six years on since Barça last triumph in the competition it seemed that Simao Sabrosa’s 20th minute goal would again earn Espanyol the trophy as they had done on the last two finals between the two clubs in 2010 and 2011. However, a 90th minute equalizer from Cesc Fabregas took the game to penalties with Barça won 4-2 with converted kicks from Fabregas, Gerard Piqué, Alexis Sanchez and David Villa.
It was good to see a healthy mix of Barça B players starting alongside first teamers Adriano, Busquets, Dos Santos and Pedro. The early game was completely dominated by Barça’s possession game though there was a clear lack of a killer ball as Espanyol soaked up the pressure.Then in the 20th minute Barça keeper Oier Olazábal rolled the ball out to Adriano who was robbed by Wakaso, the ball came inside to Cristian Gomez who knocked a simple ball between Patric and Sergi Gomez, and Simao ran through to slip the ball past Oier and put Espanyol ahead.
Barça responded timidly after the goal. Sergi Roberto had the first decent chance after a neat flick from Rafinha but his low shot was pushed past the post by Espanyol keeper Kiko Casilla. Gerard Deulofeu was quiet early on but he came to life after switching to the left at the end of the first half and sending in a couple of decent shots. He might also have won a penalty after getting blocked by Mattioni’s arm on one run.
The second half was more intense as Barça brought on Mascherano, Song, Espinosa and Alexis. Deulofeu was back on the right but looking more active though he did make one shameful dive that didn’t fool the referee. He made up for this with one excellent low cross that Casilla could only palm out. The ball hit Rafinha and then the post and Rafinha then sent a delightful back heel to the overlapping Patric but Casilla saved again.
Midway through the second half Vilanova demonstrated his desire to win by bring on Xavi, Fabregas, Villa, Piqué and Alba. Fabregas was then rather stupidly booked for a foul about five seconds after coming on. The game was becoming more intense with the referee showing several yellow cards. Barça continued to push for a goal with Villa and Alexis both denied by man-of-the-match Casilla.
Time was running out. Then in the 89th minute Patric sent in a splendid cross from the right which gave Fabregas a great chance with a header but Casilla again made the save that looked to have earned his team the victory. However, with 89 minutes 30 seconds on the clock Alex Song played a fine ball into the area for Fabregas to run on to and slip left-footed under the diving Casilla.
Tempers boiled over in injury time with Stuani and Song both getting red carded for a spot of handbags. Then despite Casilla saving the first penalty from Xavi Barça went on to win due to misses from Colotto and Joan Verdu.
Barça: Oier; Patric, Sergi Gomez (Piqué m70), Adriano Mascherano m45), Balliu (Alba m70); Sergi Roberto (Espinosa m45), Busquets (Song m45), Johnathan dos Santos (Xavi m66); Deulofeu (Villa m66), Rafinha (Fabregas m67), Pedro (Alexis m45).
Espanyol: Casilla; Mattioni (Javi Lopez m88), Raul Rodriguez, Forlin, Clerc (Capdevila mm72); Victor Sanchez (Colotto m45), Baena (Sergio Garcia m93); C. Alfonso (Stuani m45), C. Gomez (Verdu m71), Simao (Petrov m45); Wakaso.
Goals: m21 Simao 0-1, m90 Fabregas 1-1.
Penalties: Xavi (saved) 0-0, Wakaso (goal) 0-1, Fabregas (goal) 1-1, Petrov (goal) 1-2, Piqué (goal) 2-2, Colotto (bar) 2-2, Alexis (goal) 3-2, Verdu (over) 3-2, Villa (goal) 4-2.
Sent off: Stuani m93, Song m93.