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Spain - Copa del Rey
Copa del Rey
February 1, 2012
• Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia
Referee: José Luis González González
• Attendance: 51800
Final score here at Mestalla is 1-1. And what a game its been!! Valencia started brightly and took the lead through Jonas before Barca fought back and equalised courtesy of Puyol and may have been disappointed not to win the game as Messi uncharacteristically missed a penalty in the second half. That's all from me. Thanks for joining me for tonight's game, and be sure to be back here next week for the second leg of this finely poised Copa del Rey semi-final at Camp Nou. Good night everyone.
90' + 3'
MESSI SHOOTS WIDE!!! The corner finds Messi completely unmarked at the back post. He has time to control the ball and set himself, but his end product is disappointing as he shoots wide from ten yards. He's been under-par tonight Messi.
90' + 2'
CORNER FOR BARCA...
90' + 2'
Valencia fighting tooth and nail at the end here. They are determined not to let this game slip away from them.
Is there going to be a late twist at Mestalla? We are into stoppage time...
Pinto gets the benefit of the doubt from the referee after spilling the initial set-piece. I'm not sure there was much in that one. More fortunate refereeing for the away side.
ANOTHER CORNER FOR VALENCIA...
Tello coming on for Cuenca for the away side. Tello looked a real handful at El Madrigal at the weekend, with his pace causing all sorts of problems late on. Will he help Barcelona get a winner in this one?
Yellow Card Jérémy Mathieu
Valencia win yet another corner. But it amounts to nothing, as Pinto gathers the ball well and throws it out to Abidal, to start another Barca attack.
Pique fortunate to escape a booking on the right after flying into Aduriz after the Valencia player did brilliantly to keep the ball in play. Barcelona have been fortunate with some of the referee's decisions tonight.
Valencia need a goal here, as Barcelona have the away goal, and therefore if the scores remain the same they will go into the return leg with a clear advantage.
Yellow Card José Pinto Colorado
@b_mourya reckons Messi should be Flop of the Match tonight. Yes, he has been disappointing by his standards but I'm not sure he has been the worst player on the pitch. We will see!
Jonathan Dos Santos
Banega with a fantastic tackle on Messi there to dispossess the attacker when he was in full flow as Barcelona looked to launch a counter attack following a Valencia corner. Banega has broken up the play superbly in front of his back four tonight.
What an atmosphere at Mestalla tonight. The fans have really enjoyed this game.
Aritz Aduriz Zubeldia
Valencia are showing some attacking intent by throwing Aritz Aduriz on for Jonas. Aduriz has got 3 in his past 2 appearances, including a brace of goals off the bench in the 2-2 draw with Racing last week. They're going for the win here!!
Yellow Card Jordi Alba
ALVES HITS THE POST FOR BARCELONA!!!! Great interchange between Messi and the Brazilian allows him to get a shot away but he and his team-mates can only look on in agony as the ball comes crashing back off the post. Inches away from taking the lead there Barcelona!
And that is some brilliant defending from Pique there to thwart Roberto Soldado after the striker looked to have made enough room to get a shot away inside the Barca area. Great play from the defender!
Don't forget you can have your say on tonight's game by getting in touch with me on twitter at @charliefscott
Despite their stuttering league form on the road this season, it is interesting to note that Barcelona have won all three of their away games in the Copa del Rey so far. Will that change tonight?
Barcelona are starting to threaten more and more as the game progresses but Valencia's defending has been resolute thus far, and they are showing no signs of letting off.
Just seen a replay of Puyol's skill from a few minutes ago. Zidane would have been proud of the way he evaded Adil Rami's challenge there. Great to see!!
FREE-HEADER FOR PIQUE!!! Another chance for Barcelona goes begging, this time it is the centre-back Pique who is guilty, heading wildly over from a corner.
BARCA CHANCE!!! Well-struck effort from Eric Abidal on the left-hand side of the box that Alves does well to tip over the bar.
Dani Alves's first contribution is to be called offside. A right-back apparently...
Valencia's pressing this evening has been absolutely superb, right across the pitch. They will be delighted with their performance and scoreline so far.
Dani Alves set to enter the game for Barcelona. They have missed his energy down the right this evening. Will his introduction help the Catalans force a breakthrough?!
Another fantastic cross from Jeremy Mathieu from the left-hand side. Barca do well to clear it away to safety and Valencia have a corner!
Piatti is surprisingly withdrawn by Valencia and replaced by the energetic Frenchman, Sofiane Feghouli.
What a game this is turning out to be!!! Diego Alves with a superb save from Messi's penalty, diving to his left to keep out the Argentine's surprisingly weak effort.
Missed Penalty Messi
Penalty save Diego Alves
PENALTY SAVED!!!! GREAT SAVE FROM ALVES!!!!
THIAGO WINS A PENALTY!!! Miguel chops the youngster down after Messi had flicked a ball out to him and he jinxed his way past the Portuguese right-back.
Piatti robs Abidal on the right-hand side and then curls an ambitious effort with his left-foot just over Pinto's crossbar. End to end stuff here at Mestalla.
Yellow Card Víctor Ruiz
MESSI GOES CLOSE!!!! After bursting past a couple of players Messi strikes an effort just over the bar. The forward was falling as he struck that one, which perhaps explains why it was off target.
Soldado does brilliantly to get away from Pique down the left but Mascherano is on hand to clear up the danger inside the area. Dani Alves begins to warm up on the sidelines, I would not be surprised if we see the Brazilian enter the fray sooner rather than later.
GOAL DISALLOWED!!! Alexis is called back for being offside after he confidently beat Alves after latching on to a neat through-ball from Messi. Careless timing of his run there from Alexis.
Early chance for Barcelona but David Albelda snuffs out the danger well, allowing the ball to run out for a Valencia goal-kick.
Yellow Card Albelda
@Eh_why1203 predicts that Barcelona are going to win this one 3-1. Do you agree?
And we are back underway at Mestalla. Will Barcelona try and settle for the draw here, or will they search for more away goals in the first leg of this Copa del Rey semi-final?
It's half-time here at Mestalla, with the score 1-1. The major talking point so far being... HOW ON EARTH IS PINTO STILL ON THE PITCH??! Barcelona are lucky to have eleven men after the goalkeeper clearly handled the ball outside the area when Soldado raced through. I'll be back shortly for the second half of this finely poised tie.
Piatti is the player that has most impressed me so far this evening, not only for his attacking work but also the way he has put pressure on Barcelona's players when they have possession.
Don't forget you can tweet me your views on this game as it unfolds by sending messages to @charliefscott. So far, the majority of you expect a Barcelona win, but realise that they are struggling without Xavi and Andres Iniesta in the centre of midfield tonight.
Greedy play from Lionel Messi as Barcelona have a 3 on 3 situation on the edge of Valencia's area. The Argentine chooses to go it alone and is eventually dispossessed by Rami.
Yellow Card Javier Mascherano
Mascherano commits a cynical foul on Soldado inside his own half. The Valencia frontman is far from pleased about that!! Valencia ending the half stronger!
Puyol does not seem to be enjoying himself out there this evening. Valencia are targetting him at right-back, and he does not seem comfortable there so far.
Valencia enjoying more of the possession since Barcelona got their equaliser, and they do well down the left to get a couple of crosses into the area, but they are dealt with by Pique in the middle.
This is shaping to be a classic at Mestalla. 1-1 before half-time. I'm going out on a limb here and promising more goals.
Goal Carles Puyol
GOOOOALLL!!! And that's the equaliser!!! Puyol at the back post from the resulting corner, heads downwards past Alves after Victor Ruiz allows the Barca centre-back far too much space from the set piece.
WHAT A SAVE THAT IS FROM ALVES!!!! Thiago is thwarted by the Valencia keeper.
Yellow Card Ever Banega
Banega gets a yellow card for hauling Cesc back after the Spanish international threatened to launch a dangerous attack.
Abidal shows great anticipation down the left to intercept the ball but then loses it in a dangerous position. Sloppy play from the Frenchman.
Cuenca, after getting my attention in the build-up to the game, has been awful so far. Sorry Isaac!
Messi shanks an effort wide. You won't see me write that very often guys, so savour that one.
Yellow Card Jonas
GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL!!!!! VALENCIA ARE IN FRONT!! And that's a deserved lead for the home side. Jonas gets the goal after a well-worked move down the left culminates in Mathieu crossing to the unmarked Jonas inside the area. Confident finish.
VALENCIA ARE REALLY UP FOR THIS!!! They're hassling Barcelona all over the shop, and the Catalans do not like it one bit!
It's still 0-0 here but this game is bubbling with potential, both sides are intent to attack and it's making for an entertaining, open game.
Cesc is in the wars after being caught with a knee to the face. He will have to go off to receive treatment. Barca momentarily down to 10 men.
ALEXIS SHOULD SCORE THERE!!!! That's a poor finish from the Chilean. Cesc dissects the Valencia defence and Alexis is one on one with Alves but can only poke his effort wide of the left-hand post. Disappointing finish.
SOLDADO CHANCE!!! Banega lofts a corner to the back post where Soldado shows sublime technique to get a volley away that flies just over the bar. Mestalla is rocking!!!
Jordi Alba does brilliantly down the left to dig out a fantastic cross that Piatti somehow gets on the end of despite his height disadvantage against Abidal. Good play from Valencia.
WOW!!!! Pinto appears to handle the ball outside the area there, and Mestalla are furious with the referee here. Having seen a replay that is definitely a handball and should be a red card. Valencia have every right to feel aggrieved there!!!
MESSI SHOT BLOCKED!! Barcelona create their first clear chance of the game after Messi jinxed past a couple of challenges on the edge of the box to make some space but his eventual shot is blocked by a sea of Valencia bodies in the area.
Barcelona appear to be missing the overlapping runs of Dani Alves down the right early on.
No clear chances yet!!! Will that be a feature of this game as Valencia set out to frustrate their opponents?
Valencia are looking to get Soldado in over the top at every opportunity at the moment.
Miguel feeds the ball through to Piatti who juggles the ball well before being dispossessed by Puyol. Perhaps should have got a shot away there the Valencia man!
Barca starting to move the ball about nicely in midfield, Valencia have started the game brightly though, with Soldado and Piatti looking very dangerous.
Valencia break down the right through Soldado and Alba, but the latter's cross is easily dealt with by Pinto.
And that is not far away!!! Messi fires it about a foot wide, with Diego Alves failing to move in the Valencia goal.
Barca have won a dangerous free-kick on the edge of the box.
@shashwatrff on twitter predicts that the game will finish 2-2 as Barca will struggle without the likes of Xavi and Alves in the starting XI.
Piatti demonstrating his pace down the right for Valencia there, his touch evades him as he hares towards the penalty area though. Definitely something Barcelona will have to keep an eye on.
The away side have won a couple of free-kicks early on this evening. It looks like it might be one of those nights for Messi and his companions.
It will be interesting to see how much support Puyol will give his side down the right-hand side in the absence of Dani Alves, who is dropped tonight after reportedly breaking an evening curfew earlier on in the week.
53 seconds before the first foul of the evening on Lionel Messi. No yellow card though.
And we are underway here at Mestalla, with Valencia enjoying the early possession.
The players are in the tunnel, with Eric Abidal exchanging pleasantries with a number of the Valencia players. This one is minutes from getting under way.
I'm looking forward to seeing Isaac Cuenca for Barcelona tonight. He's looked a handful every time I have seen him this season.
Don't forget guys, if you want to get involved with our match coverage tonight then send me a tweet over at @charliefscott and I'll try to publish as many of your views as possible! My prediction for this game.... 2-1 Barcelona.
Both sides are coming into this game on the back of disappointing draws in La Liga. Barcelona were held 0-0 away at El Madrigal by Villarreal while Valencia drew 2-2 away at Racing. Valencia will be confident of getting something from the game however, having lost just twice at home this season.
With Andres Iniesta and Pedro both ruled out because of injury Barcelona's starting XI has a youthful feel to it with the likes of Thiago and Isaac Cuenca starting. Guardiola will be relieved that Alexis and Gerard Pique managed to shake off injuries picked up in their last two games to be passed fit to start this evening. The full XI is as follows; (4-3-3): Pinto; Piqué, Puyol, Abidal, Mascherano; Sergio, Thiago, Cesc; Messi, Alexis and Cuenca
The home side are missing Memhet Topal this evening after he picked up an injury but they do welcome back Ever Banega in midfield along with the defensive duo of Miguel and Adil Rami. Their starting XI is as follows; (4-2-3-1): Alves; Miguel, Rami, V. Ruiz, Mathieu; Albelda, Ever; Piatti, Jonas, J. Alba; Soldado
I'm Charlie Scott, and I will be bringing you minute by minute coverage of this exciting clash this evening. You can follow me on Twitter at @charliefscott so if you have anything to say about the game tonight then please do send me a tweet!
Hello, and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the first leg of the Spanish Copa del Rey semi-final between Valencia and Barcelona at Mestalla.
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