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VCF - RSO

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Valencia CF vs Real Sociedad

Feb, 25 / 18:30 Jornada 25

Copa del Rey - Jornada 11 - 08/02/2018 21:30h

Valencia CF 0
2 Barcelona
49' Philippe Coutinho, 82' Ivan Rakitic
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Valencia CF gave everything against FC Barcelona (0-2)

Febrero, 08 2018 -

The Mestalla side played a superb first half, but Coutinho’s goal early in the second changed the game

Valencia CF go out of the Copa del Rey with their heads held high after a 0-2 defeat to FC Barcelona at Mestalla. It was a night where the VCF players and fans gave their all in pursuit of what would have been a historic comeback in their semi-final second leg. A sensational first half performance saw Rodrigo denied by the woodwork, while Barça keeper Cillessen pulled off a superb reflex save to prevent Gayà from equalising in the second. A Philippe Coutinho goal just as that second half began changed the game, and the result means Barcelona qualify for their fifth consecutive Copa del Rey final.

Marcelino García Toral made five changes from Sunday’s LaLiga game at the Wanda Metropolitano, with cup keeper Jaume returning in goal, Martín Montoya coming in at right-back and Francis Coquelin stepping into midfield while Rodrigo and Vietto joined Simone Zaza in a three-man frontline. Ernesto Valverde picked a full-strength team, having rested Leo Messi in the Catalan derby at the weekend.

The first half followed a familiar pattern – long spells of Barcelona possession, largely unable to penetrate Valencia’s well-organised defence, with the home side looking to break at pace when they won the ball back, exploiting the offensive possibilities offered by their three strikers. The first shot of the game came after 5 minutes, Francis Coquelin’s right-footed effort from outside the box falling too close to Cillessen. Three minutes later, Jaume Doménech was called into action for the first time, making a flying save at full stretch to punch clear Leo Messi’s goal-bound free kick.

With 13 minutes gone, Rodrigo Moreno hit the bar as the Mestalla crowd really found their voice. Gayà’s cross was well placed and the forward’s looping header had Cillessen beaten, only to rebound off the woodwork. Rodrigo again went close in the 26th minute, receiving the ball from Simone Zaza and forcing Barcelona’s goalkeeper to make another save. It was a high quality encounter, a real advert for the competition. As the first half drew to a close, Valencia could have taken the lead once more on the night. Kondogbia shot into the side netting after Francis Coquelin had found him inside the box with a delightful lofted pass.

A half-time change for Barcelona saw Philippe Coutinho replace André Gomes, and with four minutes gone in the second period, the substitute gave them the lead. Luis Suárez’s cross found Coutinho who slid in to wrong-foot Jaume and score his first goal in a Barcelona shirt. Five minutes later, Marcelino made a double change, Rodrigo coming off with an apparent injury along with Francis Coquelin, Carlos Soler and Guedes coming on as Valencia returned to a more familiar 4-4-2 formation. The changes had an immediate impact, Soler’s low shot drifting wide of Cillessen’s right-hand post moments after Dani Parejo’s effort had been saved.

There were chances coming at both ends. Barcelona could have gone two goals up on the night just after the hour mark, but Jaume kept out Messi’s shot before Montoya blocked Jordi Alba’s follow-up effort. In response, a driving run through the middle from Guedes in the 65th minute teed up Zaza, and his return ball found the Portuguese winger whose header went just over. Then the best opportunity of the second half was created by a piece of majestic skill from Guedes after 73 minutes. He found space to cross and Gayà’s shot was turned away by Cillessen at point-blank range in an instinctive save. It was Valencia’s best chance of the game.

The tie was effectively over when Barcelona scored a second late on, Ivan Rakitic striking on the counter-attack, to make it 3-0 on aggregate. Nonetheless, the Mestalla crowd went home proud of their players and their club after a determined team effort. Attention now returns to LaLiga, and Sunday’s derby with Levante.

Match details:

0. Valencia CF: Jaume Doménech, Montoya, Gabriel Paulista, Garay, Gayà, Parejo, Kondogbia, Coquelin (Guedes, m. 55), Vietto, Rodrigo (Carlos Soler, m. 55), Zaza.

2. FC Barcelona: Cillessen, Sergi Roberto, Piqué (Yerry Mina, m. 83), Umtiti, Jordi Alba, Busquets, Iniesta (Paulinho, m. 65), André Gomes (Coutinho, m. 46), Rakitic, Messi, Suárez.

Goals: 0-1. M.49: Coutinho. 0-2. M. 82: Rakitic.

Referee: Undiano Mallenco.

Notes: Copa del Rey semi-final second leg played on Thursday night at 20:45 CET at Mestalla with a crowd of 43,355.

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