That Barcelona and Valencia will play the second leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal series surely appears to be a mere formality.
Led by Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, Barcelona routed Gary Neville's Valencia in the first leg at Camp Nou on Wednesday, jumping out to a 3-0 lead within 30 minutes and rolling to a 7-0 win. Suarez scored four goals, Messi scored three and Barcelona appears on its way to another final barring what would be the most shocking collapse/comeback combination perhaps ever.
Suarez scored twice in the opening 12 minutes to seize control from the start for the defending Copa del Rey champion:
Messi got on the scoresheet soon after that, making it 3-0 just 29 minutes in.
It could have been even worse in the first half, as Shkodran Mustafi was sent off right before halftime, but Neymar missed the ensuing penalty. Not that it mattered.
Messi scored in the 58th and 74th minutes, one coming immediately after Denis Cheryshev entered the game to a raucous applause (he was at the center of the fiasco that got Real Madrid disqualified from the competition).
And Suarez tallied in the 83rd and 88th to cap the 7-0 thrashing.
The return leg at Valencia is next Wednesday, where the hosts have their work cut out to say the least.