May 23, 2018, 23:12

Philippe Coutinho savours first Barcelona goal in Copa Del Rey semi-final

Philippe Coutinho savours first Barcelona goal in Copa Del Rey semi-final

Philippe Coutinho savoured a “special moment” after his first goal for Barcelona helped them reach a fifth consecutive Copa del Rey final.

Coutinho opened the scoring in a 2-0 win at Valencia that sent Barcelona through 3-0 on aggregate. The Brazilian netted four minutes after coming on at half-time for his fifth appearance since his £146m switch from Liverpool last month.

He said via Barcelona’s Twitter feed: “I feel happy to have scored my first goal for Barca and have helped the team get to the final.

“It’s a special moment.”

Coutinho slid in to meet fellow ex-Liverpool forward Luis Suarez’s cross and score an eighth goal of the season for both the Reds and Barca.

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Sevilla now stand in the way of a fourth consecutive Copa del Rey title, and a 30th overall, with the final scheduled for April 21.

Boss Ernesto Valverde said, in quotes reported on AS: “Barca are used to reaching and playing the finals. In my case, not so much.

“I feel very happy as it is the fifth consecutive final that the players of this team are going to play, something very complicated to repeat and repeat.

“We thought it would be very difficult and that’s how it was, but we’re going home with the final ticket in our pocket.”

Valverde said defender Gerard Pique had been taken off as a precaution towards the end of the game, after the Spaniard was replaced by Yerry Mina for the final seven minutes.

Valencia boss Marcelino added: “I think that in the first half we deserved to go level, but we did not do it and then their goal [Coutinho’s] decided the tie.”

Sourse: skysports.com

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