Suarez Steers Barca To First Leg Win
Copa Del Rey Report: FC Barcelona v Valencia 01 February 2018
Copa Del Rey
Result: FC Barcelona 1-0 Valencia
Date: 01 February 2018
Venue: Camp Nou
Luis Suarez's second-half strike guided FC Barcelona to a 1-0 win over Valencia in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie.
Philippe Coutinho, Paulinho and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen dropped to the bench, although Lionel Messi and Suarez were named in the line-up.
The Catalan giants dominated the opening exchanges but they had to wait until the 19th minute for a chance when Messi dragged his effort wide of the target from close range.
Valencia, meanwhile, stood firm defensively although they struggled to create any chances on the counter.
Barca did go close five minutes before the break when Messi fired in a low cross, which narrowly missed the outstretched leg of Suarez.
After a quiet start to the second half, Valverde introduced Coutinho in the 58th minute in the place of Aleix Vidal as they pushed for an opening goal.
10 minutes later, Barca broke the deadlock as Messi's cross found Suarez, who sent a diving header past Jaume Domenech, 1-0.
The hosts pushed for a second goal and went close in the 76th minute when Messi sent a curling effort inches wide of the upright.
The visitors nearly snatched an equaliser at the death, but Santi Mina sent his header over the crossbar at the far post as Barca held on for the 1-0 win.