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Wednesday , July 17 2019

Catalans face Valencia in Copa semis, Sevilla draw Celta

Valencia’s Argentinian forward Pablo Piatti (right), vies with Las Palmas’ midfielder Roque Mesa Quevedo (left), during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) football match UD Las Palmas vs Valencia CF at the Estadio de Gran Canaria in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Jan 28. (AFP)
Valencia’s Argentinian forward Pablo Piatti (right), vies with Las Palmas’ midfielder Roque Mesa Quevedo (left), during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) football match UD Las Palmas vs Valencia CF at the Estadio de Gran Canaria in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Jan 28. (AFP)

Defending champions Barcelona will play Valencia in the Copa del Rey semifinals.

Also in Friday’s draw, Sevilla were selected to face Celta Vigo, the only of the four remaining teams yet to win the tournament. The first leg will be in Seville. Barcelona, in the semis for the sixth straight year, will host the first leg at the Camp Nou next week.

Valencia, coached by former England defender Gary Neville, are back in the semis for the first time since winning the 2008 title.

“It will be difficult,” Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta said.

The teams drew 1-1 in the Spanish League this season. Valencia are struggling in the league with 10 straight games without a victory, but they won five of their six Copa del Rey matches.

“It’s a difficult opponent but we are hopeful,” Valencia midfielder Javi Fuego said. “Our team has been improving, and hopefully playing the second leg at home at the Mestalla (Stadium) will help us.”

Barcelona eliminated Athletic Bilbao in the quarter-finals in a rematch of last year’s final.

Valencia got past Las Palmas.

Sevilla eliminated second-division club Mirandes, while Celta Vigo upset Atletico Madrid.

“We know that we will be playing against a good team, it just defeated Atletico at their stadium, which is not something that is easy to do,” Sevilla captain Jorge “Coke” Andujar said.  “It’s an opponent that already beat us at home and it’s having a great season.”

Sevilla lost to Celta 2-1 at home in the fourth round of the Spanish League.

The teams will play each other three consecutive times over the next few weeks. In addition to the Copa del Rey encounters, they will also meet in a league game on Feb 7 in Vigo.

Celta are in the semis for the first time in 15 years. That 2001 team eliminated Barcelona before losing to Real Zaragoza in the final.

Sevilla are the only team to have won all of their six Copa del Rey matches this season. (AP)

The second-leg games will be on Feb 10. The final is set for May 21, likely at Atletico’s Vicente Calderon Stadium in Madrid. (AP)

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