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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Valverde: 'Coutinho versatility a big help'
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CBarcelona38289199297093
2Atletico MadridAtletico382310558223679
3Real Madrid382210694445076
4Valencia38227965382773
5Villarreal38187135750761
6Real Betis38186146061-160
7Sevilla38177144958-958
8Getafe381510134233955
9EibarEibar38149154450-651
10GironaGirona38149155059-951
11Espanyol381213133642-649
12Real Sociedad38147176659749
13Celta Vigo381310155960-149
14AlavesAlaves38152214050-1047
15Levante381113144458-1446
16Athletic Bilbao381013154149-843
17Leganes38127193451-1743
RDeportivo La CorunaDeportivo38611213876-3829
RLas PalmasLas Palmas3857262474-5022
RMalaga3855282461-3720

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