Valencia have pulled a shocking upset and they have claimed the 2018/19 Copa del Rey title against all odds. First-half goals from Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo were everything Los Che needed to win against a seriously-depleted Barcelona side. Lionel Messi scored for Los Blaugranas after the break, but it wasn’t enough and Marcelino led Valencia to their first Copa del Rey title since 2008. Meanwhile, Barca couldn’t win the Spanish Cup for the fifth straight season – that would’ve been a tournament record.
Gameiro and Rodrigo seal the deal for Valencia
Surprisingly, the Mestalla outfit looked much better right from the start and it was clear they had more hunger heading into this match. They were close to beat Jasper Cillessen in the sixth minute, but a goal-line clearance denied Rodrigo from what would’ve been the opening goal. The Spain international would get his revenge later though. Barcelona looked out of sync and it seemed as if Messi was the only one trying to spark things up in the final meters.
Valencia would eventually score the opening goal in the 21st minute thanks to Gameiro. The French striker received a pass from José Gaya, left Jordi Alba behind, and placed a fierce shot past Cillessen from the edge of the box. Barcelona couldn’t react after the goal, and Valencia took advantage to double their lead just before the break. This time, it was Rodrigo who found the back of the net following a great pass from Carlos Soler. Out of nowhere, Valencia secured a 2-0 lead at the break and seemed set to pull a major upset.
Barcelona’s improvements are not enough
Ernesto Valverde decided to shake things off during the break. He sent Arturo Vidal and Malcom into the pitch replacing Arthur and Nelson Semedo, respectively, but the moves didn’t pay off as expected. Vidal looked over-aggressive in midfield and while Malcom showed flashes of brilliance, he eventually disappeared as the game progressed. Valencia came close to add a third goal thanks to Goncalo Guedes, but his effort went wide.
Los Blaugranas woke up after that play, though. Messi looked active had a few shots on target, while Gerard Pique had a great chance to score in the 71st minute, but his effort went off the post. The reigning Liga champions would end pulling one back in the 73rd minute, though, as Messi pounced on a rebound to find the back of the net. But Barcelona couldn’t muster anything even remotely dangerous following the goal.
Valencia operated on a more defensive stance, and they decided to close things out despite Barca’s attempts to even things up. Valencia could’ve added a late-insurance strike, but Guedes sent another long-range effort slightly wide on stoppage time. Alberto Undiano Mallenco blew the whistle, and Los Che ended pulling the upset. They lifted their eighth Copa del Rey title.
It was a shocking win for Valencia. However, it was completely deserved given how the match happened at Estadio Benito Villamarin.
Barcelona: Cillessen (4); Semedo (4) (Malcom (6), 46′), Piqué (6), Lenglet (5), Jordi Alba (5); Rakitic (6) (Carles Aleña (-), 77′), Sergio Busquets (5), Arthur (5) (Vidal (5), 46′); Sergi Roberto (5), Messi (8), Coutinho (6)
Subs not used: Pena (GK), Umtiti, Vermaelen, Carles Perez
Valencia: Domenech (7); Wass (5), Garay (6), Gabriel (7), Gaya (6); Carlos Soler (7), Dani Parejo (6) (Kondogbia (5), 65′), Coquelin (5), Goncalo Guedes (6); Rodrigo (7) (Diakhaby (-), 88′), Gameiro (6) (Piccini (-), 72′)
Subs not used: Neto (GK), Lato, Ferran Torres, Santi Mina
Goals: Gameiro (0-1, 21′), Rodrigo (0-2, 33′), Messi (1-2, 73′)
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco
Yellow Cards: Sergio Busquets, Vidal (BAR); Gaya, Kondogbia (VAL)
Red Cards: None
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