Despite the relatively disappointing season, Luis Enrique will have plenty to look back at fondly from his first stint as the manager of Barcelona, capping it off with a 3-1 Copa Del Rey final win over Alaves, as goals from Lionel Messi, Neymar and Paco Alcacer made sure Los Cules didn’t finish the season empty handed.
Enrique, who’ll be off to a new job or a year of rest starting this summer, completed three seasons at the Nou Camp, winning two league titles, 3 Spanish Cups and the Champions League once. Rumors and fights with star players aside, it’s hard to ask for a more successful tenure, although at Barcelona, anything short of perfection is regarded something of a disappointment.
As for the match itself, after an aggressive start from the small Basque side and a hesitant, patient approach from Barcelona, it was Messi kicking off an eventful final 18 minutes of the half, finishing off a nice play from just outside the box, assisted by Neymar.
Alavez equalized shortly after when Theo Hernandez, a player Barcelona wanted but lost out on to Real Madrid, scored a thundering free kick, taking advantage of poor positioning by Jasper Cillessen.
Just before the halftime whistle, some neat passing helped set up Neymar for the Barcelona lead once more, Andre Gomes being the set up man. And 3 minutes into the first half injury, another combination of passes put Alcacer in the position to give Barcelona a two goal lead, pretty much giving us 45 second half minutes of garbage time.