Barcelona humiliate 10-man Valencia 7-0 in Copa del Rey semi-final, Messi and Suarez grab hat-tricks
Barcelona thrashed Valencia 7-0 in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final at the Camp Nou. Four goals from Luis Suarez and three from Lionel Messi saw Luis Enrique’s side put one foot in the final.
Before this game, Valencia were unbeaten in five Copa del Rey matches under Gary Neville, during which they had scored 11 goals but conceded just one. That record has now been smashed to smithereens. On the other hand, Barcelona have now won 15 games under Enrique in the competition, never having lost a single match.
Barcelona: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Aleix Vidal, Gerard Pique, Jeremy Mathieu, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Arda Turan, Andres Iniesta, Neymar, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez
Valencia: Mathew Ryan, Antonio Barragan, Shkodran Mustafi, Aderlan Santos, Jose Gaya, Danilo Barbosa, Dani Parejo, Andre Gomes, Joao Cancelo, Guilherme Siqueira, Rodrigo
First Half: Barcelona run riot
Barcelona fans at the Camp Nou were in for an early scare and feared the worst when Neymar fell over the advertising hoardings as early as the second minute. The Brazilian forward was seen holding his ankle and took his time to ease himself back into the game, much to the relief of the team.
The Catalan club applied the early pressure, winning two corners in the sixth minute. But Mustafi was on hand twice to snuff out the danger. But that was when Valencia’s impressive defensive record ended.
In the seventh minute, Neymar instigated an attack after pinching the ball from Gomes. His run at the defence saw Mustafi step out to stop the attack and Neymar found Luis Suarez who found the back of the net with a low shot across goal to find the bottom corner.
The Uruguayan striker was hungry for goals and had another shot blocked three minutes later by Gaya after Neymar and Messi worked together to set him up. However, Luis Suarez would get his second goal soon after. It was Vidal who found the former Liverpool man in the box and this time his shot found the top corner.
Iniesta was the first to go into the book for a handball as Barcelona continued to press for a third goal. In the 16th minute, Neymar was denied a chance by a sliding tackle at the last possible moment. While Valencia looked for a first goal, Mathieu was kept busy at the other end, being called into action more than once in quick succession.
The night only got worse for Gary Neville despite his attempts to restore some semblance of composure to his team. But Enrique's side were in the mood and sure enough, they got their third goal of the night at the half-hour mark.
A superb move involving four players saw Iniesta first pass the ball to Neymar who sent the ball into the box. Suarez, looking for yet another hat-trick, let the ball go and Lionel Messi did the rest. Messi also came close to scoring a second goal when Suarez fed him the ball on a counter-attack. But the Argentine forward’s shot came off the bar.
Then, at the stroke of half-time, Mustafi’s night ended when he was guilty of a bad challenge on Messi in the box. The referee deemed it a goalscoring opportunity and the red card saw Valencia reduced to 10. But as luck would have it, Neymar stepped up and only managed to hit the post.
Half-time: Barcelona 3-0 Valencia
Second Half: Messi and Suarez complete their hat-tricks
Both sides made half-time substitutions with Barcelona replacing Iniesta with Sergi Roberto while Sqiueria came off for Ruben Vezo. The first few minutes saw Valencia getting chances with set-pieces but again Mathieu was on hand to clear the danger on a corner kick and a free-kick.
Soon after Barcelona got going again. Turan had their first chance of the half when he was able to take a shot from inside the box but the shot was straight at goalkeeper Ryan. Pique then had a chance to head in a fourth but the header went just over the crossbar. Barragan then managed to block Messi’s shot to deny him a second.
Funnily, the Camp Nou crowd cheered for a Valencia substitution as Denis Cheryshev made his Valencia debut. The Real Madrid man is on loan at Neville’s side and rival fans in Spain will fondly remember how his appearance in a Copa del Rey Match saw Real Madrid kicked out of the competition as he was ineligible to play.
Lionel Messi would then add the fourth goal with a trademark Messi goal that saw him receive the ball from Suarez, dodge a couple of defenders before beating Ryan to find the bottom corner.
By this time, Valencia were well and truly out of the contest. To heap more misery on Neville, Enrique’s side ran riot and made the scoreline an impossible one for Los Che to bounce back from.
Lionel Messi first completed his hat-trick after taking the ball off of Dani Parejo and then squeezing in a shot at the near post to beat the goalkeeper. Luis Suarez would then complete his hat-trick as well before adding a fourth.
Roberto first managed to find him with a cross to the far post and the Uruguay international headed home from an acute angle. He would then beat a poor Ryan again with a venomous low shot to make it 7-0.
Two minutes of added time seemed to add insult to injury with Valencia just praying for the final whistle. The final result will certainly ask questions of Neville and whether there is even a remote possibility of turning it around in the second leg.
PSG beat Lorient to set new Ligue 1 record
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Edinson Cavani, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Layvin Kurzawa were enough to get all three points. Cavani had given them the lead as early as the sixth minute. Raphael Guerreiro had scored in the first half but any hopes of a comeback were erased when Ibrahimovic scored his 20th goal in the league this season before Kurzawa sealed the win.