Barcelona are all but secured of a place in the Copa del Rey final after crushing Valencia 7-0 in the first leg of their semi-final at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
• Barcelona 7-0 Valencia
• Suarez hits four goals
• Messi scores hat-trick
• Mustafi handed red card
• Neymar misses penalty
• Valencia goal ruled out
Barcelona were in cruise control in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final against Valencia as an early Luis Suarez goal set them on the way.
It was 2-0 inside the first quarter with the Uruguayan getting his second while Lionel Messi scored the third. Messi then won a penalty just before the half-time whistle with Shkodran Mustafi given his marching orders, but Neymar failed to convert.
However, Messi would make it 4-0 early in the second half and he would complete his hat-trick in the 74th minute while Suarez did like was in the 83d minute before the latter scored his fourth and Barca’s seventh with two minutes still to go.
Manager Luis Enrique admitted before the match that they “like to win the first leg” so that they can “set things up nicely for the second leg” and that’s exactly what his team did as they brushed aside Valencia.
The Barca manager selected the front three of Messi, Suarez and Neymar and, as expected, the trio were at the heart of everything for the Catalans.
Neymar set Suarez up as early as the seventh minute and the Uruguayan drilled the ball low past goalkeeper Maty Ryan. It was 2-0 five minutes later as Arda Turan’s long ball found Aleix Vidal and the Spanish midfielder cushioned the ball for Suarez, who once again made no mistake with the finish.
Messi got in on the act in the 29th minute as Neymar set the Argentinian up with Suarez’s dummy outdoing the Valencia defence.
As if Barca weren’t already all over the visitors, Gary Neville’s team were reduced to 10 men shortly before the break as Shkodran Mustafi took out Messi, who was through on goal.
Neymar stepped up for the penalty, but his kick smacked the post and bounced way.
Barcelona, though, did get their fourth in the 58th minute as Messi did what he does best: stepping away from players before casually slotting home.
Valencia had the ball in the back of the net in the 69th minute when Rodrigo converted from Real Madrid loan signing Denis Cheryshev’s cross, but it was ruled out for off-side.
Messi claimed his hat-trick a few minutes later as he picked up a loose ball after sloppy defending from Valencia, giving keeper Ryan no chance with the left-footed drive.
And Suarez would also claim a treble as he headed in a neat cross from Adriano in the 82nd minute past the hapless Ryan, but he wasn’t done yet as he scored goal number seven as he smashed in a pass from Turan.