Barcelona finally see off Granada to make it to the Copa del Rey semi-final! Koeman’s team made very hard work of it but once they overturned Granada’s two-goal lead it was never really in any doubt they’d go on to win.
Barca was the dominant side throughout despite the heroics of Granada’s keeper Escandell.
Barca joins Sevilla and Levante in the draw for the semi-finals then. Real Betis will play Athletic Bilbao tomorrow for the last semi-final spot.
Granada surely expected they could make it through and came very close. They’ll have to focus on La Liga now and on fighting to claim a European spot.
The Catalans scored five goals in 18 minutes to turn this cup quarter-final – and just maybe their entire season – on its head.
Antoine Griezmann scored twice and set up two, Jordi Alba scored his first brace ever for the club, and Lionel Messi pulled up a stunning performance when his team most needed it.
Ronald Koeman can still win a trophy he’s just two games away from doing it. And all that, having been two minutes from going out of the cup, trailing 2-0 to Granada.
The shadow of a second season without a trophy was hovering large over Barcelona at that point. They are 10 points behind in the league remember and unfancied in the Champions League.
This was Koeman’s best chance of leading them to silverware but with two horrible defensive mistakes, they were heading out.
The Dutch coach had looked furious on the touchline in the first half watching the latest mishap unfold.
Sergio Busquets played with fire sending a ball back towards his area when it was heavily crowded by Granada players.
When it reached Samuel Umtiti the situation went code red.
In a tight situation with no way out he should have got rid of the ball at all costs but he lagged in the possession and Soro snatched the ball from him and squared it to Kenedy who got in front of Sergio Roberto in the six-yard box and finished past Marc Andre ter Stegen.
Barcelona had gone behind in 13 previous games this season and in only three of them had they been able to come back and win, Alto this game did not look like there was going to be an incredible comeback number four when things went from bad to worse at the restart.
Umtiti was at fault again. First Griezmann gave the ball away midway inside the Granada half. And in one pass over the top Barcelona were exposed.
It was 35-year-old Roberto Soldado sprinting away and Umtiti struggling in his wake. Soldado drilled the ball past Ter Stegen and it was 2-0.
Umtiti has overcome long-term knee crises and in the weekend win over Athletic Bilbao had looked like he might be getting back to his best. This looked like one game too many inside three days.
Koeman began to ring the changes. The first was forced with Sergio Roberto limping off. Umtiti was also taken off and Francisco Trincao went with him, with Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite coming on.
Trincao had strived to make an impact forever coming inside and stepping on Messi’s toes. He had at least finished on a high hitting the crossbar.
Messi had also gone close, forcing Aaron Escandell to save well to his left with a shot set-up for him by the remarkable Pedri.
Messi then won a free-kick on the edge of the area and when it fled off the wall Barcelona won their 12th corner. Granada had not won a single corner, but they had their two goals.
Escandell struck once more saving Griezmann’s bicycle kick and Dembele shook the crossbar with Escandell for once-beaten and only three minutes left.
Just as it appeared as if Barcelona wouldn’t score if they kept playing all night Griezmann latched in Messi’s long diagonal with the ball cannoning off of Escandell and over the line.
Messi then hit the frame of the goal again with a shot that came back off the post. For the third time on the night, Barcelona had hit the woodwork, and surely now with their last chance.
Griezmann had other intentions and he crossed one more time for Jordi Alba to get the equalizer with the last breath of normal time.
El Prinicipito was drifting now and he scored at the start of added time rising to head home Jordi Alba’s cross to make it 3-2. Sure that would be only one winner.
Barcelona heads were shortly back in hands before the break whenSergioo Dest was harshly convicted to have fouled Carlos Neva and Fede Vico beat Ter Stegen from the spot to send the game within 15 minutes of penalties.
But Messi, who had been on a mission to make sure Barcelona remained in the cup since Barcelona conceded the second goal, fired another shot goalwards and when Escandell shoved it out Frenkie de Jong scored from the rebound, 4-3.
Barcelona didn’t need another but they scored one anyway. Griezmann picked out Alba one time and he put his foot through the ball to volley Barcelona into the cup semi-finals.