FC Barcelona - Valencia: The insatiable Cup Kings (2-0)
Guardiola’s team will play the Cup Final against Athletic Bilbao for the second time in 3 years
The Cup Kings get to yet another final. FC Barcelona beat Valencia thanks to goals from Cesc and Xavi, one early on and the other late in the game, in a match that could have been all over before halftime. Such was the Barça superiority that they could only regret their lack of finesse in front of Diego Alves' goal. It was a game where both teams had chances, but Valencia finished the match with 10 players after the sending-off of Feghouli.
So, FC Barcelona end their Cup marathon brilliantly, getting into yet another Cup Final, the twelfth under Guardiola, which will be played in May against Athletic Club Bilbao, who knocked out the Cup's surprise team, Mirandés.
Cesc strikes first
Valencia's initial threat lasted just 15 minutes. In those 15 minutes, they disputed possession with Barça and created some danger in Pinto's area. Then, a fabulous ball over the top from Messi to Cesc changed the game. Fabregas ran in behind Miguel and took advantage of Alves' indecision, who hesitated coming off his line, to chip him to make it 1-0, with practically Barça's first real attack.
The second goal wouldn't come
Moments later, another mistake, this time from Rami, almost cost Valencia a second time, but they survived a double effort from Messi and Cuenca. Emery's players were on the back foot after Cesc's goal. There was no sign of their early possession, and they were making too many passing mistakes at the back. From one of those, Cesc let them off the hook, when this time Alves was more inspired and saved well. The match was being played at breakneck pace and at the interval it was looking good for Barça.
Both goalkeepers were decisive
The first chance after the break fell to Valencia when Pinto made a brilliant double save from Alba and Aduriz. Barça woke up after that warning, and Messi had three good chances to decide the match. Alves responded to all 3 chances with flying colors.
Xavi resolves the tie
Towards the the end of the game it was all end to end stuff. Valencia tried and tried again down the left flank, and forced several corners that gave Barça a few scares. The spaces left by Valencia allowed Guardiola's players to counter attack, again and again. With a man extra after Feghouli's sending-off, Barça settled the matter. In the 80th minute, in a swift counter attack, Xavi finished off a great move by Alexis and Cesc. The Cup Final is a reality: number 36 for FC Barcelona.