Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Sport | By Tony Jimenez

Philippe Coutinho hails 'special goal' after opening account for Barcelona

Philippe Coutinho hails 'special goal' after opening account for Barcelona

The Brazilian global made his Barcelona debut against Espanyol last month in a 2-0 win at Camp Nou.

He told Valencia's official website: "We are expecting a long game, a very tough game, and hopefully after the 90 minutes we will be able to say that we are in a Copa del Rey final".

"My first goal for Liverpool was also set up by [Suarez]", said Coutinho, recalling his first Premier League goal against Swansea City on February 17, 2013.

Barca went on to score a second and see the tie out 3-0 on aggregate, setting up a final date with Sevilla as they look to defend their trophy.

With Coutinho ineligible for Barcelona's Champions League campaign, the £142m is set to play a big role in the side's bid to win a league and cup double this season.

Another year, another Copa del Rey final for Barcelona.

"It's not an easy feat to make it to the final this many times in a row", Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.

The sides meet in the second leg of their semi-final showdown at the Mestalla on Thursday evening with Barca carrying a 1-0 lead into the game courtesy of Luis Suarez's lone strike at the Nou Camp last week.

Barca had another sniff at goal four minutes later when the ball fell at Suarez's feet after Messi was crowded out inside the box, but the striker guided his shot past the far post from 12 yards out.

Both goalkeepers were tested in the opening 10 minutes, with Jasper Cillessen claiming a Francis Coquelin shot before Lionel Messi's free-kick was beaten acrobatically away by Jaume Domenech.

The hosts went closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half when Rodrigo hit the crossbar with a header from Jose Gaya's cross on the left in the 14th minute.

The only concern for Barca will be the sight of Pique in obvious discomfort after going off late on to be replaced by €11.8m man Yerry Mina, who made his debut.

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