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Barça run riot against Valencia

Four goals from Luis Suárez and a hat-trick for Leo Messi saw Gary Neville's ten-man Valencia destroyed at the Camp Nou in Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final first leg.

Athletic Bilbao - Barcelona

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 03:  Luis Suarez (C) of FC Barcelona celebrates with his teammates after scoring his team's sixth goal during the Copa del Rey Semi Final first leg match between FC Barcelona and Valencia at Nou Camp on February 3, 2016 in
David RamosGetty Images

Luis Suárez hit four and Leo Messi claimed a hat-trick as Barcelona turned in a virtuoso display in Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final first leg to thump Gary Neville's Valencia 7-0 at the Camp Nou and pile the pressure on the Englishman.

It was a night that had the Azulgrana faithful purring, and completed a miserable few days for a Valencia team who, after losing at Mestalla to lowly Sporting Gijón on Sunday to remain winless in La Liga under Neville and surrender a 14-month unbeaten home league run, suffered humiliation in the Ciudad Condal.

Barça were ahead with only six minutes on the clock, as Neymar regained possession in midfield, advanced towards the penalty area and fed Suárez, the former Liverpool striker making no mistake with a low effort on the run across keeper Matthew Ryan.

Just five minutes later, fantastic link-up play from Barça saw Suárez grab a second. Sergio Busquets lifted a pass to meet the forward run of Aleix Vidal down the right, and the full-back touched down first-time for the Uruguayan to smash the ball into the top corner.

With Luis Enrique's men producing a mesmerising performance, it was 3-0 shortly before the half-hour mark. Valencia simply could not live with the home team as Andrés Iniesta's pass into the box was dummied first by Neymar, then by team-mate Suárez, for Messi to run in on Ryan and produce an unerring finish from close range.

Messi was then denied by the crossbar, before a torrid opening 45 for Valencia was compounded when they were reduced to ten men, defender Shkodran Mustafi adjudged to have brought down Messi in the area - and given his marching orders. However, Neymar's miss from the resulting spot-kick meant that the score remained 3-0 at the break.

The visitors were once more left chasing shadows after half time and, following chances for Arda Turan, Gerard Piqué and Busquets, it was fantasy football again from Barça as Suárez's backheel found Messi inside the box, the Argentine ace evading the attentions of two markers to make it four.

Valencia thought they had pulled one back when Rodrigo Moreno had the ball in net from a pass by substitute Denis Cheryshev - the man at the centre of Real Madrid's expulsion from the competition for fielding an ineligible player, making his debut in the wake of his loan move from Los Blancos. But Rodrigo saw his strike ruled out for offside.

As Barça continued to overwhelm Los Blanquinegros, Messi brought up his hat-trick quarter of an hour from the end. With the away defence failing to clear, the forward nicked in to win possession back from Dani Parejo, and drove in low past a helpless Ryan.

And ten minutes later it was Suárez's turn to seal his treble, as Adriano crossed from the left byline for the 29-year-old to nod in at the back post.

However, Suárez was not done yet, and soon afterwards had bagged his fourth of the match, beating Ryan with a shot on the turn to round off a memorable Barça showing - and a chastening night for Valencia.


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