Copa del Rey: Barcelona through to final
Barcelona coach Guardiola hails team's systematic semi-final display
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola predicted a "beautiful" Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao after the Catalan club advanced last night at the expense of Valencia.
Barcelona players celebrate a goal during Wednesday's Copa del Rey
semi-final against Valencia. PIC/AFP
There was all to play for with the tie finely balanced at 1-1 heading into last night's second leg at the Nou Camp, but the hosts needed only 16 minutes to take the lead through a neat finish from Cesc Fabregas.
Sofiane Feghouli was sent off for the visitors in the 76th minute for a second bookable offence and soon after Xavi eased any Barca nerves by grabbing his side's second goal to secure a 3-1 aggregate win.
Guardiola was pleased with how his side went about their task against a dangerous Valencia team. "In Valencia we played an extraordinary game, and (last night) we did it again. We generated a lot of football, with an almost infinite amount of plays," the 41-year-old said after guiding his side to their third Copa final in four years. It's a great achievement. It says a lot about the players.
"They're calm, happy, knowing that they won the tie. I'd say that they are pleased, but calm. They did what they had to do."
The triumph set up a final against Athletic, who completed an 8-3 aggregate win over Mirandes on Tuesday.
Real, Barca lead richest club list
Real Madrid and Barcelona remain top of football's rich list as the Spanish duo moved further clear of their rivals from England, Germany, Italy and France. According to the 2012 Deloitte Football Money League, published yesterday, the Liga giants are the only clubs with annual revenue over 450 million. Real ( 479.5m) top the Football Money League for the seventh year in succession. However, they are being chased hard by rivals Barcelona ( 450.7m), whose 13 per cent growth in 2010-11 meant revenue surpassed 450m.