Barcelona thrash Bilbao in Spanish cup final

May 14th, 2009 - 3:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Valencia (Spain), May 14 (DPA) Barcelona came from behind to thrash hapless Athletic Bilbao 4-1 in the final of the Spanish King’s Cup Wednesday, thus winning their first trophy since 2006.
Gaizka Toquero gave outsiders Bilbao a shock early lead, but Barca then took control and won with handsome goals from Yaya Toure, Lionel Messi, Bojan Krkic and Xavi.

Barca captain Carles Puyol said that “we have been strong all season … now we have to continue and try to achieve more things.”

Fellow defender Gerard Pique expressed the hope that “this will be the start of important things for us”.

Toquero, for his part, admitted that Barcelona had been “superior to us”, and expressed his thanks “to all our wonderful fans who have made the trip”.

The impressive win keeps Barca on course for an unprecedented “treble” of cup, league and Champions League.

They need just one point from their last three games to clinch the league, then face Manchester United in the Champions final May 27.

Barca now have 25 cups to their name, two more than Bilbao, who have not won the trophy since 1984.

Around 25,000 Bilbao fans made the trip to Valencia, outnumbering the Barca supporters by almost two to one. Their moment of glory came after just nine minutes, when Toquero got in front of Xavi and Dani Alves and made it 1-0 by heading in a Fran Yeste corner.

Barca seemed surprised by Bilbao’s intensity and aggression. They looked uncomfortable until the 30th minute, when Toure equalised against the run of play. The powerful African - again playing centre-half in the absence of Rafa Marquez and Eric Abidal - beat three opponents and scored with a surprising near-post drive.

From then on Barca were firmly in the driving seat, with Bilbao pushed back well into their own half. Three goals in an electric nine-minute spell finished off the gallant Basques.

In the 54th minute Messi made it 2-1 with a left-foot drive, after Bilbao keeper Gorka Iraizoz had parried a shot from Eto’o.

Three minutes later teenager Bojan made it 3-1 with a calm side-footed shot that went in off the far post. Then Xavi completed the rout with one of his trademark classy free-kicks.

Josep Guardiola’s side continued to dominate at the end, and Eto’o twice came close to adding a fifth goal.

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