European Cups roundup: Barcelona reach Copa del Rey final, Bayern Munich and PSG advance
Copa del Rey: Valencia 1-1 Barcelona (Barcelona qualify 8-1 on aggregate)
The second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final was played in a largely empty Mestalla. With the tie pretty much decided in the first leg after a 7-0 thrashing at the Camp Nou, Los Che fans decided to skip this game with faith dwindling in Gary Neville’s capabilities.
With such a commanding aggregate scoreline, Luis Enrique started with a second-string side with players such as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique rested. Ivan Rakitic and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen were the only regulars in the starting lineup.
It was Alvaro Negredo who gave the home side the lead in the 39th minute after a long ball sent him through on goal. The Spaniard first tried to lob Ter Stegen but the goalkeeper managed to block it, only for the ball to fall at Negredo’s feet and he side-footed the ball into an empty net.
The second half saw Valencia start brighter than Barca and kept possession, looking to erase an enormous deficit. Although the Catalan club had a few chances on goal, they couldn’t equalise. At the other end, Ter Stegen was forced into a crucial save when Danilo came close to doubling the lead with a well taken free-kick.
It was then a night to remember for 19-year-old Wilfrid Kaptoum who came off the bench in the 82nd minute and scored within two minutes of coming on with what was literally his first touch of the game. A low cross from the left flank found Kaptoum at the edge of the six-yard box and he opened his right foot to side-foot it past the goalkeeper to make it 1-1.
The visitors did not press for a winner and the match ended as Barcelona reached their third conseuctive cup final where they will most likely face Sevilla (they play Celta Vigo tomorrow and already lead 4-0 from the first leg). The draw also saw Luis Enrique break Pep Guardiola’s record for most consecutive matches unbeaten with 29 straight games. Guardila had been unbeaten in 28 games in 2011.
DFB-Pokal: VfL Bochum 0-3 Bayern Munich
Bayern took their time to get going and only managed to open the scoring in the 38th minute. Thomas Muller drew a couple of Bochum defenders towards him and supplied a through ball to Robert Lewandowski who managed to score after it hit the inside of the far post.
A red card to Jan Simunek for a tackle on Arjen Robben inside the box five minutes later made matters worse for the home side. However, Muller failed to convert the penalty as Manuel Riemann made the save to give the 10-man side a chance.
Pep Guardiola’s side then doubled the lead in the second half when Muller managed to cut the ball back from the right and into the box where Thiago Alcantara managed to get a shot off. The shot deflected off Onur Bulut and beat Reimann to make it 2-0 to the visitors.
Lewandowski then made it 3-0 in the final minute of the game after Arjen Robben managed to nick the ball and thread a pass through to the Polish striker who made no mistake from inside the box to confirm Bayern’s progress to the semi-final.
Coupe de France : Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Lyon
A brace from Zlatan Ibrahimovic was enough to see PSG beat Lyon 3-0 in the Coupe de France to reach the quarter-finals of the competition. The Swedish striker scored two goals in four minutes in the second half before Adrien Rabiot scored a third in the 75th minute to seal their progress to the next round.
PSG are the defending champions having won all four domestic trophies last season. The brace now takes 34-year-old Ibrahimovic’s goal tally to 29 goals so far this season – 21 of which have come in Ligue 1 where PSG have a commanding 24-point lead.