Philippe Coutinho scored his first goal as Barcelona defeated Valencia 2-0 in the Copa del Rey semi final second leg at the Estadio Mestalla.
Ivan Rakitic was the other scorer on the night, earning Barca a record fifth final in a row, after a 3-0 aggregate win.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 8, 2018
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After what was a solid start to the season under new managers, while Barcelona have maintained theirs, Los Che have lost their way, having lost their last five games prior to the game against the defending champions.
This includes that loss at Camp Nou in the first leg, as Barca went into the second leg with a narrow 1-0 lead, thanks to that strike from Luis Suarez.
However, Marcelino Gracia’s side, who needed a penalty shootout to book a semifinal place against Deportivo la Coruna, put up a spirited performance against their more illustrious opponents, before succumbing in the second half.
The host started well, coming close to an opener twice in the first half through wide forward, Rodrigo Moreno, whose first effort came off the post, before Jasper Cillessen brilliantly saved another fierce effort from him just before the half-hour as both sides went into the break on level terms.
Valencia’s resilience was finally broken very in early in the second half, as Barca took a 1-0 lead on the night, and 2-0 on aggregate, following a good work from Suarez, who turned Ezequeil Garay inside out before delivering a solid cross to record signing, Coutinho, to score from a close range.
Both sides had opportunities to add to the scoreline after that, but it was Ernesto Valverde’s side who scored another, this time through Rakitic, to all but end Valencia’s hopes eight minutes from time.
“I feel happy to have scored my first goal for Barça and have helped the team get to the final,” Coutinho said after the game. “It’s a special moment.”
A deserved victory for Barca, who are into a record, fifth successive Copa del Rey final, and remain on course for a treble this season in Valverde’s first season at the club.
For Los Che, despite a courageous display, they lose for the sixth consecutive time in all competitions.