We have gone another step closer to reaching yet another Copa del Rey final with a 1-0 win over Valencia at home. Personally, I would have liked atleast a 2-goal cushion to go to Mestalla as we cannot predict the kind of Valencia who could turn up in the 2nd leg. We tried our best to break the dead-lock and we could finish off only one of the many half chances we created and credit to Valencia for their compactness & solidity.
We could have brought on or even started with Paulinho instead of Aleix Vidal, who was pretty much predictable whenever he was on the ball. He failed to produce a similar performance to the one he did against Espanyol in the 2nd leg of quarter-finals. While, Paulinho could have proven to be an extra man in the box to finish off the crosses. I stress on this point even more because Valencia decided to defend deep and protect the centre. This gave us space only in the wide areas and hence some crossing with purpose and an additional poacher in the box could have added a different dimension to our attack.
A solid performance nonetheless and we were in control of the game for a major period. Once Rakitic (who had an outstanding performance) was subbed-out with Coutinho, Alcacer and Paulinho coming in, we looked little vulnerable on the counter as we lost defensive balance. It is quite risky to play Paulinho next to Busquets when you are looking to defend well as only Rakitic seems solid enough a partner in the centre of the park. Paulinho ahead of Rakitic & Busquets would probably give us more balance going forward and also while to ensure we are defensively covered. But for this, an excellent game which could have been even better had we found the net once more.
For those who missed it or those who want to watch again, here are the highlights: