Valencia Defeat Barcelona 2-1, Emerge Copa Del Rey Champions
By Our Reporter
Valencia are the new Copa del Rey champions after beating Barcelona and denying the Blaugrana a fifth consecutive cup success.
After their woeful Champions League capitulation against Liverpool, Barcelona sought to placate their frustrated fans with a domestic double having wrapping the league title with three games to spare in April.
But goals from Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo handed the champions a shock defeat at the Benito Villamarín Stadium that piles more pressure on Ernesto Valverde – with Lionel Messi’s effort with 18 minutes left nothing more than consolation.
Gerard Pique spared Clement Lenglet’s blushes when the Frenchman’s horrible back pass freed Rodrigo on the edge of the box just six minutes into the contest. The Spaniard rounded Jasper Cillessen but was denied an early opener with Pique superbly reading the danger and getting back to hook the ball off the line.
Barcelona were punished just after the 20-minute mark however. With their defence sleeping, Gabriel Paulista picked out Jose Gaya’s run down the left, with the full-back able to find Gameiro unmarked on the edge of the box. The Frenchman took a superb first touch to evade the onrushing Jordi Alba before expertly picking his spot, lashing past a helpless Cillessen.
The Spanish champions were undone down the flanks again on 35 minutes with Carlos Soler brilliantly outpacing Alba down the right. Rodrigo, Valencia’s saviour in the semi-final with a second-leg winner against Betis, was unmarked in the box to head home.
It failed to inspire the comeback they needed however, with Valencia clinging on to secure their first piece of silverware since 2008.