Football unfair but incredible, says Ronald Koeman

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman hailed football’s capacity to thrill after his side beat Granada 5-3 after extra time in the Copa del Rey.

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman. - AP

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman hailed football’s capacity to thrill after his side beat Granada 5-3 after extra time in its Copa del Rey quarterfinal after being two goals down in the final minutes.

“That was incredible, football is incredible,” said the Dutch coach. “The first thing I want to highlight is the mentality of this team, as we never stopped trying to win.”

Barca hit the woodwork three times in normal time and were repeatedly thwarted by Granada keeper Aaron Escandell but found themselves 2-0 down and facing an exit until Antoine Griezmann scored in the 88th minute and Jordi Alba levelled in stoppage time. Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Alba scored in the extra period while Fede Vico netted a penalty for Granada.

“In the first half football was unfair on us, as we had made a great start to the game but we made an error by trying to play fancy football in an area where you shouldn’t be doing that and it cost us the first goal,” Koeman added.

'Never let our heads drop'

“We knew we were having very little luck, we had a lot of good chances but the ball didn’t go in, either the keeper saved or it went off the woodwork. It looked like we were going to lose.

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“But we really showed our mentality when they scored their second goal, we never let our heads drop, we had incredible bad luck to not score but we deserved to win in the end because of our attitude.”

Two-goal Griezmann also praised his side’s team spirit and the new format of the Copa del Rey after it dispensed with two-legged ties last season. “These are beautiful matches, much better as one-off games as anything can happen,” he said.

“We suffered a lot but we gave a great image of ourselves until the end.”