• Season comes full circle as Barca, Sevilla seek doubles

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    Andres Iniesta  AFP PHOTO

    Andres Iniesta
    AFP PHOTO

    MADRID: Newly-crowned Spanish champions Barcelona face Sevilla, fresh from winning their third consecutive Europa League, as both seek more glory in the Spanish Cup final on Sunday (Monday in Manila).

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    Another successful campaign for both sides will end as it began after Barca edged Sevilla 5-4 after extra-time in a thrilling season-opening European Super Cup final.

    Indeed, Barca could end the season with four trophies in total having also claimed the Club World Cup in December.

    Barca captain Andres Iniesta laughed off suggestions that a La Liga and Cup double is the minimum requirement for the Catalan giants to ease the pain of their Champions League exit to Atletico Madrid at the quarterfinal stage last month.

    However, the Spanish international did admit Barca’s success of winning six La Liga titles and three Copas del Rey in the past eight years has provoked a relentless demand for more trophies.

    “When you win a league it’s impossible for it to be a bad season. It will always be a good season,” Iniesta said on Saturday.

    “This team always has the obligation to win in a final. We fight for all the titles each season, sometimes we win and other times we don’t, but the obligation to win is permanent.

    “It is like that in every game we play, so imagine what it is like in a final.

    “The club doesn’t allow errors, dips or not winning things and this will not change.”

    Sevilla keeps winning titles
    Sevilla appear to have the significant disadvantage of having beaten Liverpool in the Europa League final just five days before facing Barca at Atletico Madrid’s Vicente Calderon.

    By contrast, Luis Enrique’s men have had a free week since Luis Suarez’s hat-trick in a 3-0 win at Granada retained their league title.

    Enrique insisted he expects to win, but warned that Sevilla’s experience in finals could pose Barca problems.

    “I am an optimist, I think we are going to win,” he said.

    “Sevilla have brilliantly won again the Europa League final and they have the chance to do the double too which is very important for a team like Sevilla.

    “They keep winning titles. With us they are one of the teams most used to playing finals and that will make tomorrow a very attractive match.”

    The action off the field has been dominated by a political row in the build up as Catalan separatist flags were initially banned from the stadium by the Spanish government before Barca successfully appealed that decision through the courts.

    “Very few things surprise me in this country,” said Enrique.

    “In the end the logical thing has happened and the freedom of expression for everyone has been respected.”

    AFP

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