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Barca give Guardiola Cup send-off victory

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

MADRID - Barcelona gave coach Pep Guardiola the perfect send off, beating Athletic Bilbao 3-0 on Friday to win the Spanish Cup on the coach's last match in charge after a memorable four seasons in the Catalan hot seat.

Lionel Messi, with his 73rd goal of the season, and a Pedro Rodriguez double got the goals inside the first half an hour to finish off the Basque side and deliver Guardiola his 14th and final trophy at the club.

Guardiola leaves the side he played for with three Spanish leagues, two Champions Leagues, two FIFA World Club Cups, two UEFA Supercups, three Spanish Supercups and two Spanish Cup victories as coach.

The win was a repeat of Guardiola's first title in the 2008-09 final when the Catalans ran out 4-1 victors over Bilbao.

Guardiola has never lost to Athletic in his four seasons, winning ten out of 15 clashes between the two sides who boast the most Spanish Cup victories, Barca making it 26 with this win to Bilbao's 23 titles.

Guardiola, with Dani Alves and Carles Puyol injured, decided to start with a four man defence including the youngster Martin Montoya at right-back.

He also made the decision to give Pedro a final chance to play himself into the Spanish squad for Euro 2012 and the forward grabbed it with both feet.





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