Valencia salvaged a bit of pride with a 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final, but they exited the tournament 8-1 on aggregate while the visitors extended their unbeaten run to 29 games.
• Valencia 1-1 (1-8) Barcelona
• Negredo gives hosts the lead
• Mina headers wide after break
• Kaptoum grabs late equaliser
• Barca on 29-game unbeaten run
Only a handful of fans turned up at the Mestalla following the 7-0 drubbing in the first leg, but they missed out early on as Valencia had the better of the opening chances.
Alvaro Negredo scored a first-half goal, but Cameroonian youngster Wilfrid Kaptoum claimed a late equaliser for the defending champions.
Under pressure Valencia manager Gary Neville admitted before the game that Saturday’s league encounter against Espanyol is of more importance and he opted for a largely second-string team.
With Barcelona’s qualification for the final a foregone conclusion, manager Luis Enrique decided to rest his MSN – or Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar if you like.
The fans, meanwhile, voted with their feet and only a handful turned up at the Mestalla for the game.
Sandro had the first opening four minutes into the game after being played in by Munir El Haddadi, but he made a mess of the shot and fired well over.
As expected it was the visitors who dominated possession, but Valencia had the clearest opportunity in the first 30 minutes with 17-year-old Fran Villalba dancing his way through the defence before firing a left-footed shot that just shaved the crossbar.
And Valencia were the ones who took the lead six minutes before the break with one of the more senior players getting the goal.
Alvaro Negredo has struggled with his finishing under Neville, but he was set free by a long ball from Jose Gaya and then he tried to chip Marc-Andre ter Stegen when one-one-one and, although the goalkeeper got a touch, the ball bounced back into the striker’s path and he finished.
Santi Mina had a chance to double the lead inside the first minute of the second half, but the attacker’s header from Pablo Piatti’s cross went over the bar and a few minutes later his left-footed shot was saved by Ter Stegen.
Uncharacteristically Barca’s first shot on target came only in the 66th minute when Ivan Rakitic fired directly at the goalkeeper.
Despite not being at their attacking best, the visitors still managed to find a goal as the substitutes combined with Juan Camara bursting down the left flank before cutting the ball inside to the on-rushing Wilfrid Kaptoum, who hit a first-time right-footed shot.
It finished 1-1 and the draw means Barcelona are now unbeaten in 29 games under Luis Enrique, one better than their previous record set under Pep Guardiola.