Luis Suárez scored the only goal of the game as FC Barcelona earned a Copa Del Rey semi-final advantage in the first-leg at the Nou Camp.
The Uruguayan forward netted a second-half header on Thursday evening as the hosts looked to put one leg in the final in April.
Slow start for Barca
In what looked like to be a tough evening against high-flying Valencia, Barcelona were frustrated throughout the majority of the first-half despite dominating possession. Both Lionel Messi and Suarez went close for the Blaugrana but neither were able to get a decisive touch to edge the ball past Jaume Domenech. Jose Gaya did well to prevent the latter from racing through on goal.
The best chance of the first period fell to forward Suarez in the closing stages as Andres Iniesta found space on the wing. His low cross though evaded any touch from the 31-year-old striker as both sides heading into half-time level.
Comparatively better beginning to the second period
Despite their relatively low-key start to the game, Barcelona came out after the break much improved and went close after only a few minutes. Messi did well to skip away from the Valencia defence but could only put his powerful effort into the side-netting. Los Che did create their own opportunities however. Spanish midfielder Dani Parejo tried his luck from distance by Jasper Cillesen collected well to keep the visitors at bay.
Former Liverpool man Phillipe Coutinho came on for defender Aleix Vidal but again Barcelona were still struggling to find the opener that they craved.
Suarez strikes to sink Valencia
Valverde’s troops did eventually score though and it was the dynamic duo of Messi and Suarez that were at the heart of the opening strike. The Argentine forward did well to dance to the by-line. He then lifted the ball into the penalty area and the unmarked Suarez ghosted in and headed low into to the net to drag the hosts marginally ahead.
Messi continued to have a huge influence on proceedings at the Nou Camp and could even have added a second in the dying embers of the second half. Taking aim from approximately 25-yards out, the Argentine was unlucky to see his attempt just curl wide of the bottom corner with Domenech scrambling.
Valencia struggled from the set-back and were simply not able to find an equalising goal afterwards as Barcelona secured a crucial first-leg advantage.
Whilst Valencia could feel frustrated at the fact that they were not able to trouble Barcelona in an offensive sense. However, they will be delighted that they head back to the Mestalla with just a one-goal deficit to overturn in an effort to reach the final.
The hosts were below par throughout the evening and will be disappointed that they were not able to turn their domination into goals. Lionel Messi however was brilliant for the team throughout the evening and he will be sure to play a part in the second-leg in Valencia in a week’s time.
Barcelona: Cillessen (6); Roberto (5), Pique (7), Umtiti (8), Alba (6); Busquets (7), Rakitic (6) (Paulinho (6), 68′), Vidal (6) (Coutinho (6), 58′), Iniesta (7) (Alcacer (6), 73′); Messi (8), Suarez (7).
Valencia: Domenech (6); Montoya (6), Vezo (6), Gabriel (7), Gaya (7); Soler (6) (Ferran (6), 76”), Coquelin (6), Parejo (7); Pereira 7 (Maksimovic (6), 45′), Rodrigo (5) (Mina (N/A), 81′), Vietto (6).
Goals: Suarez (67′)
Yellow Cards: Roberto (35′), Pereira (40′), Vietto (51′), Barragan (53′).
Red Cards: N/A
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