Yerry Mina
Yerry Mina is yet to play for Barcelona since his January arrival from Palmeiras Getty


  • Lionel Messi should also return to the Catalans' starting line-up after being rested against Espanyol.
  • La Liga giants visit the Mestalla for the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final with a 1-0 advantage.

Colombian international Yerry Mina is tipped to make his Barcelona debut when the La Liga giants visit Valencia for the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie on Thursday night (8 February), with both Gerard Pique and Thomas Vermaelen expected to be unavailable due to injury.

Spanish publication AS adds that club-record signing Philippe Coutinho could be dropped to the bench with Ernesto Valverde planning to deploy the same starting line-up as he used in the big matches during Barcelona's successful opening half of the season.

The La Liga giants will visit the Mestalla Stadium looking to book their place in the Copa del Rey final for the fourth successive year, having won the title in the last three campaigns.

Barcelona hold a 1-0 advantage from the first leg played at the Nou Camp last week but their preparations for the return fixture have been hampered by the news that Pique will miss the game after sustaining a knee injury during the 1-1 draw against Espanyol on Sunday.


Despite the importance of the game, Jasper Cillessen is set to remain as Valverde's number one for the Copa del Rey having started ahead of Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the previous seven games of the competition.


AS says that Pique and Vermaelen will not be available to face Valencia unless a "miracle" happens between now and Thursday night.

Indeed, on Monday Pique's grandfather Amador Bernabeu confirmed that his grandson could be sidelined for around "eight or ten days" due to a knee injury suffered against Espanyol.

Meanwhile, Vermaelen was ruled out for around two weeks after picking up a hamstring injury in the 5-0 win over Real Betis on 21 January. He is yet to return to training and AS believes that the Copa del Rey clash will come too early for him.

As a result, Mina is tipped to start alongside France international Samuel Umtiti in the heart of the Barcelona backline. Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba would complete the defence after the two full-backs were rested at the weekend.



When fit, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta have been stalwarts of Valverde's midfield and the trio are expected to start against Valencia.

Meanwhile, AS understands that Coutinho will leave the remaining place in midfield to Paulinho with the latter having excelled in previous key games, including the 3-0 victory over Real Madrid in the first La Liga El Clasico of the season on 23 December.

Coutinho made the starting line-up against Espanyol but the former Liverpool ace is still adapting to his new teammates and AS believes that he will therefore have to wait for his opportunity on the bench.


AS says that Lionel Messi will surely return to the Barcelona starting line-up against Valencia after the Argentine played only the final 30 minutes of the recent derby.

Luis Suarez should complete Valverde's XI having scored 13 goals in his last 12 appearances, including the winner in the first leg.