Coutinho savours first Barca goal

Philippe Coutinho celebrating his goal with Lionel Messi during the 2-0 Spanish King's Cup semi-final win over Valencia. Barcelona are through to their fifth straight final.
Philippe Coutinho celebrating his goal with Lionel Messi during the 2-0 Spanish King's Cup semi-final win over Valencia. Barcelona are through to their fifth straight final.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MADRID • Philippe Coutinho made his debut for Barcelona only late last month but he is now on his way to a Cup final, with the Brazilian hailing it as a "special moment" in his new start in Spain.

The 25-year-old came off the bench to score his first goal for his new club in a 2-0 win at Valencia on Thursday that saw them ease into another Spanish King's Cup final.

Coutinho broke the deadlock in the 49th minute of the semi-final, second leg at Mestalla, having entered the game only at the start of the second half.

It was the first time the Brazilian had found the net since his £142 million (S$260 million) move from Liverpool early last month.

"For me it is my first final, so it is a very special moment," Coutinho told Spanish TV station Gol.

"I am very happy. I had been searching for this goal in my first few matches. Today I got it and it helped the team get through to the final."

Ivan Rakitic then swept home the second goal eight minutes from the end as holders Barcelona - who won 1-0 in the first leg - secured a place in the final for the fifth season running, becoming the first side to achieve such a feat.

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Winners of the trophy in each of the last three campaigns, the Catalans will face Sevilla in the final on April 21.

Sevilla beat Leganes 2-0 on Wednesday to go through 3-1 on aggregate.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2018, with the headline 'Coutinho savours first Barca goal'. Print Edition | Subscribe