Barcelona took a step toward getting the chance to compete for a fourth straight Copa del Rey title, beating Valencia 1-0 at Camp Nou in the first leg of their semifinal on Thursday.
Luis Suarez scored the winner on a header in the 67th minute, and Barcelona, perhaps more importantly, maintained the clean sheet to prevent the visitors from tallying any away goals. Any Barcelona score at La Mestalla in the second leg next Thursday would require Valencia to score at least three to go through.
Barcelona maintained the lion's share of possession and had plenty of chances but couldn't break through until midway through the second half, when Jordi Alba found Lionel Messi in the box. He took on his defender, carried to the end line and then lofted a perfectly weighted ball for an unmarked Suarez at the far post, and the Uruguayan delivered.
Barcelona is looking to add to its all-time record of Copa del Rey titles, which currently stands at 29, while Valencia is hoping to return to the final for the first time since winning its eighth title in 2008.
The winner will face either Sevilla or Leganes in the final. Their semifinal is all square at 1-1 going into the second leg at Sevilla.