Valencia beats Barcelona 2-1 to win the Copa del Rey


SEVILLE, Spain (AP) — Valencia beat Barcelona 2-1 in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday, denying Lionel Messi the chance to lead his team to a fifth consecutive domestic cup title.

Strikers Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo Moreno scored after defensive errors by Barcelona in a first half dominated by Valencia.

Other than the defending of Gerard Pique, Barcelona was lifeless for long spells. Coach Ernesto Valverde made two substitutions at halftime and there was a lift in energy.

Messi tried to rally the side almost singlehandedly in the second half, and the club's all-time greatest scorer hit the woodwork before scoring in the 73rd minute when he put in a rebound of a save by Valencia goalkeeper Jaume Doménech.

But Messi's best effort to force added time was an off-target header with five minutes remaining.

Barcelona entered the final part of the season with hopes of a rare sweep of all three major titles in play. It succeeded in defending its Spanish league crown, but two weeks ago it collapsed in the second leg of the Champions League semifinals in a stunning 4-0 loss at Liverpool.

Now it has also lost its chance to add to its record 30 Copa del Rey titles. Barcelona had won the competition every year since losing the 2014 final to Real Madrid.

It was Valencia's eighth Copa del Rey title and its first since 2008.


More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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