MX23RW : Tuesday, July 23 03:36:13| >> :600:108669328:108669328:
Feb 10, 2016 at 8pm UK at ​Mestalla
Attendance: 16,296
Valencia
1-1
Barcelona
Negredo (39')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Kaptoum (84')

Live Commentary: Valencia 1-1 (1-8) Barcelona - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg between Valencia and Barcelona at the Mestalla.
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On Wednesday, Valencia welcomed Barcelona to the Mestalla for the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final.

A 7-0 victory for Barcelona in the first leg last week had all but sewn up their spot in another final, making tonight's match more of a friendly, which was reflected in the two teams that took to the field.

Valencia took the lead on the night through Alvaro Negredo in the 39th minute, but Barcelona drew level on the night late on when Wilfrid Kaptoum registered his first senior goal from close range.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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Evening all! Sports Mole's live Copa del Rey coverage continues from the Mestalla as Valencia welcome Barcelona for the second leg of their semi-final. Bar a quite extraordinary turnaround or some bizarre turn of events, Barca will advance to the final tonight. Why? The Catalan outfit will enter this match off the back of a 7-0 win in the first leg at Camp Nou last week. This is pretty much a free game!

It took just seven minutes for Barcelona to make the breakthrough in the first leg, with Luis Suarez scoring the first of his four goals on the night. Lionel Messi also grabbed a hat-trick for the hosts, who played the whole of the second period against 10 men following Shkodran Mustafi's red card late in the first half. Losing at Camp Nou is no shame, but losing by seven goals was very difficult for Valencia to take. As expected, it brought a furious reaction from the club's supporters, mostly directed at Gary Neville.

Valencia can take heart, however, from the fact that their last clash with Barcelona in this stadium finished level. Los Che boss Gary Neville watched on from the stands as the two teams played out a 1-1 draw in the league in December and while Valencia are not going to win this tie and advance to the final, they will be keen to send out a message and end Barcelona's long unbeaten run in the process.

Right, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news. Who have Gary Neville and Luis Enrique placed their faith in for this match? Let's take a look shall we...

TEAMS:

VAL: Jaume; Vezo, Diallo, Santos, Gaya; Zahibo, Danilo, Villalba; Piatti, Mina, Negredo

BARCA: Ter Stegen; Vidal, Bartra, Vermaelen, Mathieu; Rakitic, Roberto, Samper; Adriano, Munir, Sandro


So there we have it. As expected, both managers have made sweeping changes for the match. Valencia boss Gary Neville has selected both Jose Gaya and Alvaro Negredo, but there are also starts for the likes of Ruben Vezo and Ibrahim Diallo, who will make his debut for Los Che tonight. Highly-rated 17-year-old Fran Villalba is also a starter alongside Danilo and Wilfried Zahibo in the middle of the park.

As for Barcelona, Luis Enrique has made nine changes to the team that started against Levante at the weekend, with only Sergi Roberto and Ivan Rakitic keeping their spots. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar have all been rested, which has opened up spots for Munir El-Haddadi and Sandro Ramirez in the final third. There is also a spot in the XI for the brilliantly talented midfielder Sergi Samper.

Barcelona's defender Gerard Pique celebrates with Barcelona's midfielder Sergi Samper and Barcelona's forward Munir after scoring during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs APOEL FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 17


So there we have it. The two teams are in and we are now little under 40 minutes from kickoff on this mild evening in Valencia. With no points on offer tonight and Valencia standing no chance of progressing to the final, it will be interesting to see what type of match occurs with the personnel on the field. As touched on, the Valencia supporters will want to see some fight from a team that has really struggled throughout the campaign and especially since Gary Neville took control at the end of 2015.

A little bit of background before we get down to form. In terms of progression to this stage of the tournament, Barcelona comfortably beat Villanovense and Espanyol, before recording a 6-2 aggregate win over last season's finalists Athletic Bilbao last time out. Valencia, meanwhile, overcame Barakaldo, before beating Granada in the round of 16. They found fellow La Liga side Las Palmas a tough nut to crack in the quarter-finals, but a 1-0 win away from home in the second leg saw Los Che book their spot in the final four.

It will not come as much of a surprise to learn that Barcelona are the most successful team in the Copa del Rey, having claimed the trophy on an incredible 27 occasions, including last season as part of what was a wonderful treble. Valencia, meanwhile, are the fifth-most successful team in the Copa, having won the competition on seven separate occasions, the last of which was in 2008.

Neymar and Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrate winning the Copa del Rey on May 30, 2015© AFP


Valencia are currently on a three-game losing run in all competitions. They suffered a 1-0 league defeat at home to strugglers Sporting Gijon on January 31, before taking that hammering at Barcelona last week. Gary Neville would have been desperate to record his first league win as head coach against Real Betis on Sunday, but another 1-0 defeat further increased the pressure on the Brit.

It is clear that a section of supporters want Gary Neville to be relieved of his duties, but the board have stuck with the England assistant manager. The former defender will not be judged on tonight's match due to the bizarre circumstances surrounding the tie, but Saturday's home league match against seriously out-of-form Espanyol has possibly become the club's biggest game of the season to date.

As well as the league, Valencia are also in the Europa League and will host Rapid Vienna in the first leg of their last-32 clash later this month. A terrible run of form in La Liga has left the former Spanish champions in 14th position in the table and it is difficult to say that the board would continue to back Gary Neville if they suffered defeat against Espanyol and Granada in their next two in the league.

Valencia players dry their eyes after the game between Villarreal and Valencia on December 31, 2015© AFP


As for Barcelona, Luis Enrique's side just cannot stop winning at the moment. They are currently on a 28-game unbeaten run in all competitions, which stretches back to the start of October, when they lost 2-1 at Sevilla in the league. They have won their last 10 games in all competitions and will fancy their chances of continuing that sensational run in this match, despite what is a very experimental XI.

Indeed, it is difficult to see where Barcelona's next defeat is coming from. After this match, they will host Celta Vigo in the league at the weekend, before travelling to Sporting Gijon on February 17 to play their game in hand. Next comes a trip to Las Palmas, before they return to Champions League action with the first leg of their last-16 clash at Arsenal on February 23, which should be an absolute cracker!

Another Copa del Rey final has been sewn up (sorry Valencia fans), while they are currently three points clear of second-place Atletico Madrid at the top of the league. Luis Enrique's side are also four points clear of third-place Real Madrid and have a game in hand over both of those teams. It is going to be very difficult indeed for the Madrid pair to deny Barcelona winning another Spanish title this season.

Barcelona players celebrate during the game with Granada on January 9, 2016© Getty Images


That said, Barcelona were far from impressive in their 2-0 win over Levante at the weekend. Luis Suarez struck late on to make sure of all the points for the Catalan side, but it was arguably their poorest performance since losing at Sevilla in October. Talking of Sevilla, they are most likely going to be Barcelona's opposition in the Copa final following their 4-0 win over Celta Vigo in the first leg of their semi-final last week.

A reminder of the two teams for tonight's match...

VAL: Jaume; Vezo, Diallo, Santos, Gaya; Zahibo, Danilo, Villalba; Piatti, Mina, Negredo

BARCA: Ter Stegen; Vidal, Bartra, Vermaelen, Mathieu; Rakitic, Roberto, Samper; Adriano, Munir, Sandro


PREDICTION! It is very difficult to predict what will occur here due to the nature of the tie and the two under-strength teams that will take to the field. Valencia, on paper, are actually the slight favourites for me, but I think that it will end in a share of the spoils. I am backing a 1-1 draw.

KICKOFF! To suggest that there are a few spare seats tonight would be the understatement of the century. It is not very full to say the least! Right, the visitors get things underway tonight...

... as expected, Barcelona have taken control of the possession in the opening couple of minutes. It does not matter who takes to the field in a Barcelona shirt, they will always play in the same style.

Not an awful lot to report in the opening four minutes of action as both teams battle for control of the possession. Just a reminder that Valencia would need to score at least seven times tonight to stand a chance of progressing. In other words, this is a free game and Barcelona are in the final.

CHANCE! The first chance of the night goes to Barcelona as Munir drives down the right before setting up Sandro, but the attacker's curling effort was always moving high of the crossbar!

It has been a solid start from Barcelona, who have definitely moved the ball quicker in the final third of the field. Valencia have just not really been allowed to get going in the early moments here.

Barcelona continue to look the most likely to make something happen in the final third as Roberto and Samper combine just outside the Valencia box, but the cross from Adriano is cleared at the near post. The visitors are controlling the ball in the final third of the field at the moment.

Another half-chance for Barcelona as Roberto works the ball into Rakitic outside the Valencia box, but the Croatian midfielder's effort was always rising over Jaume's crossbar. Super strike!

Valencia have the chance to create an opportunity following a mistake in the Barcelona defence, but Vezo cannot find Negredo and the resulting corner is cleared. Roberto is down the other end moments later and dances into the Valencia box, but he just takes one touch too many at the final moment.

Valencia have managed to put together a period of possession in the last couple of minutes, but they are not really going anywhere and Barcelona's high-pressing style is causing problems.

Not an awful lot to report in terms of clear chances in the last few minutes, with both teams guilty of losing possession in the final third. There is no question that Barcelona look the slicker outfit in the final third, however, with Rakitic and Roberto dominating the battle in the middle of the park.

Vidal drives down the right for Barcelona before attempting to poke a low cross into Rakitic, who is full of running at the moment, but Diallo spots the danger and is across to concede a throw-in.

CHANCE! Super feet from Munir as the Barcelona attacker dances past a couple of defenders outside the box before having a go, but his effort was always bending away from the post.

CHANCE! Sensational defending from Mathieu as the Barcelona centre-back makes a goal-line clearance after Piatti had fed a low cross towards Mina. That is as good as a goal!

It took a little bit of time for this game to get going, but it is much more entertaining at the moment as both teams continue to commit players in the final third. Valencia really struggled to get things going in the final third in the early moments, but they are improving as the half develops here.

Adriano and Munir are playing wide of Sandro in the Barcelona attack and all three have been impressive in the opening 27 minutes. Not quite Neymar, Messi and Suarez though!

Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining and we are still level at 0-0 on the night. However, Barcelona still lead 7-0 on aggregate. Just the seven unanswered goals Valencia need.

CLOSE! Villalba, the 17-year-old, shows excellent feet outside the Barcelona box before striking towards goal, but his effort is just over the crossbar. He has been very impressive!

Sandro has been full of running in the final third for Barcelona and the attacker wins a free kick when Diallo bundles the Spaniard to the deck. Not sure about that - shoulder-to-shoulder!

The resulting free kick from Rakitic is straight over the crossbar.

Much better from Valencia in the last few minutes as they continue to move the ball quicker in the final third, but Ter Stegen has still not really been tested between the sticks for the visitors.

BOOKING! Diallo (Valencia) is booked for a late challenge on Roberto.

Rakitic again takes the resulting free kick, but again he misses the target!

Slightly untidy period of the match in the last few minutes as the referee is forced to intervene following a couple of late challenges. Stop-start football at the Mestalla in the 38th minute.

GOAL! Valencia 1-0 Barcelona (Negredo)

Breakthrough Valencia! The home side take the lead in the 39th minute as Negredo beats the offside trap before converting at the second time of asking after initially being denied by Ter Stegen!

Those inside the stadium, and there are not many, enjoyed that a lot! Negredo was a touch fortunate with the finish after being denied on the first occasion, but his name is on the scoresheet!

BOOKING! Santos (Valencia) is booked for a late challenge on Munir.

CHANCE! Incredible chance for Barcelona to level the scores as a free kick is worked short into Rakitic, who delivers onto the head of Munir, but somehow the centre-back heads wide!

Another half-chance for the hosts, but Aderlan heads wide from a corner.

HALF-TIME: Valencia 1-0 Barcelona (1-7 on aggregate)

The comeback is on! Well, I am not too sure about that. However, Valencia do lead 1-0 at the break of this second leg courtesy of a close-range finish from Negredo. Barcelona have had a number of chances to register, particularly through Munir, but it is the hosts that lead at the interval tonight.

STATS! Barcelona have dominated the possession with 69%, while they have had six attempts, but none of those have been on target. Valencia, meanwhile, have hit the target with three of their five attempts. Two bookings to report - Diallo and Aderlan both picking up yellow cards for Valencia.

BENCH WATCH! Both benches tonight include a number of young players, but Valencia do have both Bakkali and Andre Gomes in reserve should Gary Neville wish to add more experience. Barcelona, meanwhile, have options in the shape of Alena, Camara, Kaptoum and Douglas.

MATCH PIC!

Jeremy Mathieu and Santi 'look into my thighs, look into my thighs' Mina in action during the Copa del Rey semi between Valencia and Barcelona on February 10, 2016© Getty Images


RESTART! Here we go then. Barcelona's 28-game unbeaten run is in real danger of ending tonight! Can they respond in the second period? Let's find out. Valencia resume the action here...

... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, I suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind for the second half of this second leg.

Half-chance for the home side as Piatti delivers a super cross onto the head of Mina inside the Barcelona box, but the striker's header is off target under pressure from Bartra.

Plenty happening in the early moments of this second period as both teams continue to commit players in the final third of the field. Just a reminder that Valencia need another six goals if they are to take this into extra-time - that is also without Barcelona scoring. Unlikely if we are all honest!

Vidal has a problem for Barcelona here as he goes down in a heap after a challenge with Villalba.

Vidal is back on his feet and seems fine to continue. Valencia waste no time in bursting forward once again and Negredo works the ball into Piatti, but his strike on the edge of the box is blocked.

Barcelona do not look comfortable at the back here and Valencia are not afraid to commit midfield runners in addition to Negredo, Mina and Piatti in the final third. Barcelona remain a threat as they work the ball from left to right, but they are just struggling to create openings at the moment.

BOOKING! Munir (Barcelona) is booked for a late challenge on Piatti.

Little over 30 minutes of this second leg remaining and as it stands, Barcelona are going to lose their 28-game unbeaten run in all competitions, which stretches back to the start of October. Valencia continue to look the more likely to score another as Negredo causes problems in attack.

Half-chance for Rakitic as the Croatian finds space outside the Valencia box, but his effort was always moving wide of the post. Valencia still ahead with 59 minutes on the clock here.

VALENCIA SUB! Bakkali replaces Negredo for the home team.

Still no movement on the Barcelona bench, but Luis Enrique will surely be considering handing some minutes to some younger players. Not an awful lot happening at the moment here.

BOOKING! Gaya (Valencia) is booked for a late challenge on Vidal.

Barcelona have a free kick in a very dangerous position...

... Mathieu strikes the dead-ball, but his effort is straight into the wall.

Barcelona have just started to take control of the match in the last couple of minutes, but it is difficult to say that Valencia's back four are under any serious amount of pressure at the moment.

Rakitic tests Jaume with a strike from inside the box, but it is comfortable for the Los Che man.

You just get the feeling that there is another goal in this match and it would be fair to say that Valencia's threat has been less since Negredo left the field. Barcelona are growing in confidence.

Valencia have a free kick just outside the box as Adriano brings Bakkali to the ground...

... Piatti attempts to pick out the top corner, but his effort was always too high.

VALENCIA SUB! Andre Gomes replaces Mina.

Almost a shooting chance for the home team as Piatti attempts to pick out the run of Bakkali inside the Barcelona box, but Bartra is across to clear at the vital moment. It is all a little bit frantic at the moment as Barcelona concede another free kick and Samper might be booked for it...

... BOOKING! Samper (Barcelona) is booked for a foul on Piatti.

SAVE! Ter Stegen tips Danilo's curling free kick over the crossbar!

Another shooting chance for Barcelona, but Vidal fires high and wide of the crossbar.

BARCELONA SUBS! Adriano and Rakitic are replaced by Douglas and Camara.

Not an awful lot to report in terms of chances in the last few minutes, but Barcelona are looking the team more likely to find the back of the net. This is no longer about the Copa del Rey, but rather extending Barcelona's unbeaten run, which currently stretches back to the start of October!

Bakkali works the ball back to Piatti as Valencia create another half-chance, but the latter fires over the crossbar as Barcelona survive a counter-attack. Still around 10 minutes remaining here.

VALENCIA SUB! Final Los Che change as Villalba is replaced by Salvador.

BARCELONA SUB! Sandro is replaced by Kaptoum.

Moments before that change, Bakkali had danced into the box for Valencia before attempting to release a strike, but Mathieu was on hand to make the challenge. End-to-end football!

GOAL! Valencia 1-1 Barcelona (Kaptoum)

Well that did not take long! Kaptoum has only just come on for his debut, but the attacker has his first Barcelona goal after converting a low cross from Camara!

CHANCE! Opportunity for Barcelona to win it as Camara again delivers into a dangerous area, where Munir pokes towards goal, but Jaume gets down to make the stop!

Stop-start couple of minutes as both teams are guilty of committing fouls.

Two additional minutes have been added here.

Barcelona are the team looking for the win late on here.

FULL-TIME: Valencia 1-1 Barcelona

So there we have it. Valencia are denied the win late on, but Gary Neville will be encouraged by his team's performance for long spells at the Mestalla. It is Barcelona, who are now 29 games unbeaten, that make the Copa final courtesy of an 8-1 aggregate victory and the Catalan side will face either Sevilla or Celta Vigo for the trophy. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action once again. Until next time!

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Barcelona's coach Luis Enrique shouts from the sidelines during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs SD Eibar at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 25, 2015
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