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Rediff.com  » Sports » Barca beat Bilbao to claim 26th King's Cup title

Barca beat Bilbao to claim 26th King's Cup title

May 26, 2012 12:02 IST

Barcelona won their 26th King's Cup when two goals from Pedro and one from Lionel Messi gave them a 3-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao in coach Pep Guardiola's final match in charge on Friday.

It was the 14th title of Guardiola's four-year reign and capped a season in which Barca finished second behind arch-rivals Real Madrid in La Liga and lost to Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals.

Barca made much the brighter start on a warm evening at Atletico Madrid's Calderon stadium and were ahead after a third-minute corner when Pedro pounced on a loose ball and fired home.

Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez lifts up the Spanish King's Cup trophy after winning their final against Athletic BilbaoAndres Iniesta then capped a lengthy period of Barca domination in the 20th minute with a superb pass that sent Messi clear and the World Player of the Year cracked the ball into the roof of the net for his 73rd goal of the season in all competitions.

Five minutes later Barca had a third after Xavi laid the ball off to Pedro just outside the area and he curled a low left-foot shot into the corner, leaving several of the Bilbao players shaking their heads in disbelief and their red and white-clad supporters stunned.

Bilbao, who were soundly beaten by Atletico in the final of the Europa League this month, barely troubled Jose Manuel Pinto in the Barca goal and the second half was short on goal-mouth action as Guardiola's side closed out a comfortable win.

Marcelo Bielsa's Bilbao team end the season trophy-less but with the consolation of a place in next season's Europa League thanks to their runners-up finish in the Cup as Barca take their place in the Champions League.

Photograph: Felix Ausin Ordonez / Reuters

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