Puyol grabs Barça draw at Valencia

A header from Barcelona veteran centre-back Carles Puyol saw the Spanish champions come from behind to draw 1-1 with Valencia in their Copa del Rey semi-final first-leg match today.

Barcelona, who were defeated by Real Madrid in the final last year, could have won it in the second half through Lionel Messi's penalty, but his effort was well saved by Diego Alves in the 55th minute.

Valencia 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 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 credible 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.