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Feb 28, 2008

Barcelona vs ValenciaXavi's last gasp equaliser gave Barcelona a very well deserving equaliser in the first leg of the Copa Del Rey semi final tie. Valencia went ahead against the run of play with a free flowing counter attack which was well finished by David Villa. For almost all the 90 minutes it looked like a match where Barcelona will never find a way past the Goal Keeper. But Xavi found the equaliser in the dying moments when he found the net after a wonderful run by Eto. Barcelona would have been hard done if they were to be condemned to defeat after having almost all the chances in the match. Any other season Valencia escaping from Nou Camp with a away goal would mean the end of the story for Barcelona, but then this season Valencia is nowhere near the best and the way they played at Nou Camp gives ample hope for Barcelona to beat them at Valencia.

The match began in the expected fashion with Barcelona having a tremendous triple chance in the seventh minute. He denied Xavi from a close range, the rebound was struck fiercely by Eto at the defense and Lionel Messi effort from the resulting rebound was chested away. Soon Joaquin's goal was disallowed for offside. In the 15th minute Milito saw his shot go high after a wonderful free kick from Deco. In the 28th minute Henry had a powerful shot saved by Hildebrand. Just before half time, Abidal's effort from over 25 yards was saved by Hildebrand. Hildebrand was the busiest man in the pitch and he was not going to have any reprieve in the second half also.

After the restart it was Messi who tested Hildebrand for the first time, his low shot would have found the net any day but not today. Then in the 58th minute Hildebrand denied Messi again with a wonderful save. In the 67th minute, Rijkaard opted to bring on Andres Iniesta and Bojan Krkic in place of Henry and Deco. That soon produced the result but at the wrong end. David Villa played a neat exchange before passing to Javier Arizmendi to the right; David Villa again made sure that he reached the end of Javier's excellent low cross. Barcelona then pushed forward for an equaliser. In the 81st minute Messi's another effort was saved by Hildebrand , Messi tried to be a little too smart there after his wonderful run past defenders from the left. In the end Hildebrand had all of Messi's effort under control. In the 84th minute an excellent long range effort from Milito was well saved by guess who Hildebrand. Then in the 89th minute Toure saw his wonderful curving kick from outside box parried away by Hildebrand . Then in the injury time about to finish Eto made a wonderful run in to the box (there were doubts whether he has handled the ball) his shot was blocked by Hildebrand but only to see Xavi finishing off from the rebound.

Barcelona did play well and was denied by Hildebrand for most of the time. Barcelona's defense in recent match has been caught sleeping at some times. There is no doubt that we can finish the game off at Valencia with a little more clinical finishing.

HighLights Of Match



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