MADRID: A header from Barcelona veteran central defender Carles Puyol saw the Spanish champions come from behind to draw 1-1 with Valencia in their Spanish Cup semi-final first leg match on Wednesday.
Barcelona — beaten finalists last year — could have won it in the second-half by Lionel Messi’s penalty was well saved by Diego Alves in the 55th minute.
Valencia — seven times Cup winners — had taken a well deserved lead in the 27th minute thanks to Brazilian forward Jonas’s well taken-shot from just inside the box.
However, Barcelona were back on level terms eight minutes later as the talismanic Puyol leapt highest at the back post to head into the net and give his side what could be an invaluable away goal for next week’s second leg.
It was all the more creditable as coach Pep Guardiola had to do without a quintet of first choice players because of injury including Pedro Rodriguez and Andres Iniesta.
Tuesday’s semi-final had seen top tier Athletic Bilbao take a 2-1 advantage into next week’s second leg after beating third division Mirandes away.