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Five talking points from Barcelona’s Copa del Rey win over Valencia

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Valencia v Barcelona - Copa del Rey Semi Final Second Leg Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Suarez the star of the semi-final

Philippe Coutinho will probably steal the headlines from Thursday’s game after scoring his first goal for the club but Luis Suarez deserves huge credit after a brilliant display.

He scored the only goal of the game in the first leg and then came up with two superb assists in the second. It might have been three as well but Jaume Doménech saved well from Lionel Messi.

Suarez also managed to avoid the booking that would have cost him a place in the Copa del Rey final. He may now have gone two games without a goal, but his contribution against Valencia was immense.

Valencia v Barcelona - Copa del Rey Semi Final Second Leg Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Cillessen is a brilliant back-up

While Marc-Andre ter Stegen is laying claim to be the best goalkeeper in Europe there seems little doubt that Jasper Cillessen is probably the best back-up.

The Dutchman produced a remarkable save from Jose Luis Gaya in the second half to deny Valencia an equaliser that would have given them hope as they chased the game.

Being a back-up goalkeeper can be a frustrating occupation but Cillessen is an important part of the squad and now gets the chance to play in another Copa del Rey final.

Valencia v Barcelona - Copa del Rey Semi Final Second Leg Photo by David Aliaga/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pique plays through the pain

Gerard Pique was expected to sit this one out with a knee injury but, after he was included in the squad, it was little surprise to see his name in the starting line-up.

Having said that it seemed throughout the match that he was not fully fit and he was eventually substituted late on with Ernesto Valverde admitting afterwards he was concerned about him.

It seems unlikely that Pique will play against Getafe on Sunday, which is a concern with Samuel Umtiti suspended. Hopefully he has not aggravated his injury because Barca need him with Chelsea coming up in the Champions League.

Valencia v Barcelona - Copa del Rey Semi Final Second Leg Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Coutinho gets off the mark

Philippe Coutinho may have been none too impressed to find himself on the bench once again and it was a little surprise to see Andre Gomes start ahead of him.

However, the Portugal midfielder lasted only 45 minutes as Valverde sent on Coutinho at the break and it turned out to be an inspired substitution.

Less than five minutes after his arrival Coutinho was sliding in to score the opener, a brilliant finish from a tight angle that left Valencia needing to score three and effectively sealed the tie for Barca.

Valencia v Barcelona - Copa del Rey Semi Final Second Leg Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Rakitic deserves more credit

Ivan Rakitic has come in for frequent criticism but he’s been in fine form recently and put in another hugely influential display on Thursday.

The Croatian was excellent in possession, pressed high and recovered the ball well and then killed the game off completely late on with a clinical finish after being teed up by Suarez.

Rakitic seems to be thriving under Ernesto Valverde and looks to be coming into his very best form at just the right time.