Teenage sensation Pedri was the shining spark of what has been a largely disappointing 2020/21 campaign for Barcelona so far, and he provided another moment of magic in his side’s Copa del Rey victory over the Athletic Club Wednesday evening.
Barcelona beat Athletic 3-2 thanks to a header from Pedri and a brace from Lionel Messi, the latter’s opening goal being the result of particularly special help from the former.
Ronald Koeman’s team lost a goal in less than three minutes, with Inaki Williams beating clear and passing Marc-André ter Stegen.
Pedri equalized for Barcelona 11 minutes later, returning home with Frenckie de Jong’s padded side volley, before bringing up a piece of individual brilliance to help give his team the advantage.
The 18-year-old received the ball at the edge of the athletic surface and was trained to shoot, before rolling the ball back with the ball of his foot to kick Messi – his back heel knocking out three defenders from the Athletic. In the process.
“It was a super fast move,” explained Pedri (via Athletic’s Dermot Corrigan). “Messi walked past me and yelled at me, otherwise I wouldn’t have seen him. Fortunately the keeper was out and it went well. ”
Messi would wrap up the win for Barcelona and reserve his place in the last 32 of the Copa del Rey in the second half, folding Antoine Griezmann’s pass from below the crossbar from the edge of the six-yard box.
The Argentinian was denied a hat-trick by the post, then offered possession of Athletic deep in Barcelona’s half to allow the hosts to pull one off full-time immediately, with Iker Muniain capitalizing on the free pass to return home.