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Coutinho off the mark as Barcelona reach Copa final

February 9, 2018 10:36 AM
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Coutinho off the mark as Barcelona reach Copa final

Philippe Coutinho scored his first Barcelona goal as the Spanish side beat Valencia to reach a record fifth successive Copa del Rey final.

Coutinho, making his fifth appearance since a £142m move from Liverpool, came on in the second half and acrobatically steered home from Luis Suarez’s cross.

That put Barca, cup winners in the past three years, 2-0 up on aggregate in the semi-final second leg in Valencia, before Ivan Rakitic added another.

Valencia – who are third in La Liga, 18 points behind leaders Barca – had two key chances but were well beaten by a team that looks certain to win the league title.

At 0-0, striker Rodrigo headed against the crossbar while Jasper Cillessen produced a stunning instinctive save to deny full-back Jose Luis Gaya from point-blank range following Coutinho’s opener.

After Rakitic coolly rounded off a late counter attack, finishing from Suarez’s pass, Barca brought on 23-year-old Colombian defender Yerry Mina – a £10.4m January signing from Palmeiras – for his debut.

Sevilla, sixth in the Spanish table 25 points behind the leaders, reached their second Copa del Rey final in three seasons with a 3-1 aggregate win over La Liga rivals Leganes.

Barca have won the competition three times in a row since losing to Real Madrid in the 2014 final.

Source: citifmonline.com

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