Luis Suarez’s second half header was enough to give Barcelona a first leg lead in what was far from a Copa classic.
Barcelona had 79% possession in a first half where despite their dominance of the ball they were unable to trouble Jaume Domenech in the Valencia goal. The visitors themselves struggled to even get out of their own half but defended strongly.
Andreas Pereira and Sergi Roberto both picked up bookings in the first half with many people believing both could have seen red. Pereira for persistent fouling was eventually booked when he caught Lionel Messi late but it was Roberto who could be seen as lucky to stay on the pitch.
His high studs caught Pereira on the thigh leaving the Los Che wideman in pain but Roberto escaped with a booking.
The second half in truth wasn’t much better but eventually there would be a breakthrough, Lionel Messi drew the defenders away before dinking the ball up to the back post where Luis Suarez nodded home to calm down the majority of the 50,000 fans inside a half empty Camp Nou.
The second leg takes place a week today at the Mestalla with one team heading for April’s final at the Wanda Metropolitano against either Sevilla or Leganes who drew 1-1 in their first leg last night.
Barcelona: Cillessen; Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Vidal (Coutinho, 58), Rakitic (Paulinho, 68), Iniesta (Alcacer, 73); Messi, Suarez
Valencia: Jaume; Montoya, Gabriel, Vezo, Gaya; Soler (Ferran, 76), Coquelin, Parejo, Pereira (Maksimovic, 46); Vietto, Rodrigo (Mina, 81)