Teenage striker Juan Mata scored twice as Valencia CF defeated FC Barcelona 3-2 at the Mestalla to set up a date with Getafe CF in the final of the Copa del Rey.
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Teenage striker Juan Mata scored twice as Valencia CF defeated FC Barcelona 3-2 at the Mestalla to earn a place in the final of the Copa del Rey 4-3 on aggregate.
Barça had scrambled an injury-time equaliser to draw 1-1 in the first leg, but they were soon trailing again here. Despite dominating the first half, they fell behind to Ruben Baraja's powerful long-range strike on 18 minutes and went into the interval 2-0 down after Mata added a second on the counter-attack moments before the break.
Substitute Thierry Henry pulled one back for the Catalan side with 18 minutes to play only for the 19-year-old Mata to hit his second almost immediately afterwards. A late Samuel Eto'o goal set up a grandstand finish, but Valencia held their nerve. The result is a huge boost for Ronald Koeman's side who are well off the pace in the Primera División and crashed out of the UEFA Champions League in the group stage.
They now meet Getafe CF in the final on 16 April, with a place in next season's UEFA Cup on offer for the winners, after Michael Laudrup's team booked a second consecutive appearance in the final with a 4-2 aggregate victory against Real Racing Club Santander on Wednesday.