The hashtag #ValverdeOut has been trending on Twitter since Barcelona's shocking 2-1 Copa del Rey final loss to Valencia yesterday night. This combined with their second successive Champions League elimination in the knockouts under manager Ernesto Valverdre has made most pundits and Blaugrana faithful come to the conclusion that the former Athletic Bilbao boss must be shown the door despite winning the La Liga in his both his first two seasons at Camp Nou.
With the trio of Ousamane Dembele, Luis Suarez and Marc-Andre ter Stegen injured, Valverde opted for a conservative starting lineup, without a recognised centre-forward, while starting Sergi Roberto in the right wing instead of Brazilian Malcom.
French striker Kevin Gameiro opened the scoring for Valencia in the 21st minute, collecting a splendid cutback from left wing-back Jose Gaya, neatly dribbling past his marker to smash the ball past an immobile Cillessen and into the post.
With no No.9 to feed off, Messi was isolted up front with Valencia dominating midfield as Fracis Coquelin and Dani Parejo had excellent games. Valencia's young sensation Carlos Soler beat Jordi Alba for pace down the right wing and provided a splendind cross for Rodrigo to head in Valencia's second in the 33rd minute. Philippe Coutinho had another pathetic outing for the Blaugrana failing to create anything substantial.
Despite bringing on Malcom and Carlos Alena in the second half, Valverde's men lacked ideas and urgency while Marcelino's Valencia were happy to concede Barcelona posession, always looking dangerous on the counter.
Messi gave the fans some hope with a tap-in goal in the 73rd minute, after Clement Lenglet's header from a corner rebounded off Valencia's goal post. But it was not to be as Valencia held strong to win their first final in the last 11 years and decimating Barcelona's dream of completing a second successive domestic double.