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Soccer: Coutinho scores as Barcelona reaches 5th straight Copa final

FC Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho celebrates after scoring against Valencia during the Spanish Copa del Rey, semifinal, second leg, soccer match between FC Barcelona and Valencia at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia, Spain, on Feb. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)

MADRID (AP) -- Philippe Coutinho scored his first goal since leaving Liverpool as Barcelona defeated Valencia 2-0 Thursday to reach the Copa del Rey final for the fifth straight year.

    Ivan Rakitic sealed the victory late in the second leg of the semifinals as Barcelona added to its 1-0 win from the opener at Camp Nou Stadium, advancing 3-0 on aggregate.

    The three-time defending champions will face Sevilla in a repeat of the 2016 final.

    Sevilla eliminated Leganes 3-1 on aggregate on Wednesday.

    Valencia put on a tough challenge against Barcelona, creating some significant scoring chances at Mestalla Stadium.

    But the visitors opened the scoring early in the second half after Luis Suarez raced past a defender inside the area before crossing the ball to Coutinho. The Brazilian playmaker, Barcelona's most expensive signing, slid to reach the ball and sent it toward the far corner.

    Coutinho, making his fourth appearance since being signed in January, scored shortly after coming on at halftime.

    Suarez also set up the second goal, finding Rakitic for an easy goal from inside the area after a breakaway in the 82nd minute.


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