Feb 1, 2018 at 8.30pm UK at ​Camp Nou
Attendance: 50,959
Barcelona
1-0
Valencia
Suarez (67')
Roberto (35')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Pereira (40'), Vietto (51'), Soler (53')

Result: Luis Suarez gives Barcelona first-leg advantage over Valencia in Copa del Rey

Result: Suarez gives Barca Copa advantage
© Offside
Barcelona earn a slender lead over Valencia in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final clash, thanks to a solitary goal from Luis Suarez at the Camp Nou.

Luis Suarez's diving header ensured that Barcelona gained a slender advantage over Valencia courtesy of a 1-0 victory in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final clash at Camp Nou this evening.

Valencia's decision to setup on the counter was apparent from the off, as Barcelona took possessional control of the opening exchanges, leaving Lionel Messi to almost produce a moment of magic with a mazing run before being stopped adroitly by Ruben Vezo.

The home side's dominance took the best part of 20 minutes to develop into a meaningful chance, as Messi collected a clever through-ball from Ivan Rakitic, only to fire his effort inches wide of Jaume Domenech's post.

Messi's impact during the opening half grew increasingly more troublesome for the visitors and he soon picked out Andreas Iniesta with a clinical switch of play, leaving Domenech to get a vital touch on the Spaniard's cross as it looked to be making its way to an unmarked Suarez at the back post.

For all of Valencia's attacking deficiencies, the visitors might just have stolen a lead before the break when Martin Montoya broke onto a loose ball on the edge of the box, but the former Barcelona defender saw his volley effort flash wide with Jasper Cillessen looking stranded.

Barcelona started the second period with much the same dominance as the first, although they were almost caught cold when Daniel Parejo sprung a shot from distance leaving Jasper Cillessen to react smartly down low.

Such proved Valencia's stubbornness, Ernesto Valverde decided to introduce new signing Philippe Coutinho just before the hour mark, as the home side went in search of a vital foothold heading into the second leg at the Mestalla.

Coutinho appeared inventive following his introduction, but it was the old faithful that finally hoisted the hosts into the lead, as Messi beat two defenders to pick out Suarez in the middle, who made no mistake with a clinical diving header to make it 1-0.

Barcelona's £145m playmaker might have notched his first goal for the club soon after, only for Domenech to get down low in order to keep out the Brazilian's side-footed effort just over 15 minutes from time.

The hosts' advantage never really looked like being threatened in the final throes of the match, although Valencia arguably did well to ensure that they went back to the south coast just one goal behind with another 90 minutes to be played.

BARCELONA (4-4-2): Cillessen; S. Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; A. Vidal (Coutinho '58), Iniesta (Alcacer '73), Rakitic (Paulinho '68), Busquets; Suarez, Messi

VALENCIA (4-4-2): Jaume; Montoya, Paulista, Vezo, Gaya; C. Soler (Torres '76), Parejo, Coquelin, Pereira (Maksimovic '46); Rodrigo (Mina '81), Vietto

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Philippe Coutinho in action for Barcelona on January 28, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona24195062115162
2Atletico MadridAtletico2416713692755
3Valencia24144647281946
4Real Madrid23136455262945
5Sevilla2412393135-439
6Villarreal2411583529638
7EibarEibar2410593236-435
8GironaGirona249783430434
9Celta Vigo249694134733
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14Athletic Bilbao2461082427-328
15AlavesAlaves2491142233-1128
16Espanyol246992232-1027
17Levante24311102138-1720
18Las PalmasLas Palmas2453161852-3418
19Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo2445152453-2917
20Malaga2434171538-2313
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