Lionel Messi (C) celebrates with Neymar (R) Andre Gomes after scoring the opnener against Deportivo Alaves in Copa del Rey (King's Cup) final. Pic/ AFP
Madrid: Argentine Lionel Messi and Brazilian Neymar, with one goal each against Alaves, were responsible for winning FC Barcelona's third straight Copa del Rey tourney 3-1.
The two unstoppable players wrapped up the match just before halftime.
After failing to win the La Liga championship and eliminated in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals, the Barcelona squad nonetheless closed the Luis Enrique era - this was his last game as Barca's head coach - by winning its third straight Copa del Rey tourney, a consolation prize for a team with no trophy in the big competitions this season, Efe news reported.
Alaves held off Barca at Vicente Calderon Stadium until half an hour through the first half, when the game changed thanks to the efficiency and talent of Lionel Messi and Neymar.
First it was Messi, who took a pass at the edge of the box from Neymar and left-footed it into the net for a 1-0 lead at minute 30.
Not so fast. Just three minutes later the young Alaves striker Theo Hernandez tied it up 1-1 with a curling shot from outside the box into the far corner of the net.
But that was it for Alaves. It looked like a 1-1 tie going into halftime, and in the second half anything could happen, right? Wrong. At minute 45 of the first half, Neymar drove the ball into the net to make it 2-1.
And then the seemingly impossible happened. There was still enough injury time for Barca's Paco Alcacer to take another brilliant pass from Messi, get around Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco to score and make it 3-1 at halftime and 3-1.
After a scoreless second half, Barcelona took home its third straight Copa del Rey championship, a fond farewell for coach Luis Enrique.