Luis Suarez scored four and Lionel Messi three as Barcelona thrashed Gary Neville’s Valencia 7-0 to all but book their place in the Copa del Rey final.
Neville’s five-game unbeaten run in the competition came to a shuddering halt as Suarez scored twice in the opening 12 minutes of the semi-final first leg, before Messi added a third just before the half-hour mark.
Things got worse for the visitors just before the break when Shkodran Mustafi was shown a red card for hauling down the Argentina international in the penalty area, but Neymar’s spot-kick rebounded off the post.
In the 59th minute Messi hit his 500th career goal with a low shot past Matt Ryan before completing his hat-trick 15 minutes later.
Suarez had a hat-trick of his own seven minutes from time before rounding off the rout with his 35th goal this season to make it a miserable night for Neville and his side.
It took just seven minutes for Luis Enrique’s side to make their mark on a ninth Copa del Rey semi-final in 10 years as Neymar stole the ball from Andre Gomes before playing in Suarez to score his 32nd goal of the season.
Suarez did not have to wait long for his 33rd as just five minutes later he rounded off a move which saw Sergio Busquets curl an inch-perfect ball into the path of Aleix Vidal, whose first-time pass was blasted past Ryan by the Uruguayan.
It was Barcelona at their best and they produced another free-flowing move in the 29th minute when Andres Iniesta picked out Neymar on the edge of the penalty area, and his back-heel found Messi, who made no mistake from close range.
Neville, who saw Daniel Parejo head over for his side, would have thought things could not get any worse, but just before the break they did.
Mustafi was shown a straight red card for denying Messi a goalscoring chance, but Neymar could not convert from the spot with his effort crashing back off the post.
After the break there was no respite for the 10 men of Valencia as Gerard Pique, Arda Turan, Busquets and Messi all went close and the home fans fans were back on their feet in the 59th minute as the Argentina forward grabbed his second of the game.
Suarez was the provider as his back-heel found Messi, who danced his way through the hapless Valencia defence to fire into the bottom corner.
Valencia thought they had pulled a goal back in the 67th minute but Rodrigo’s effort was ruled out for offside after a pass from debutant Denis Cheryshev, whose appearance while ineligible to play in an earlier round for Real Madrid got them eliminated.
Messi completed his third Copa del Rey hat-trick in the 74th minute, capitalising on some poor defending to beat Ryan at his near post.
Barca continued to run riot and they made it 6-0 as Suarez, not to be outdone by his strike partner, completed his own treble with a header from tight angle at the far post with seven minutes remaining.
The former Liverpool striker increased his side’s lead with his 35th goal of the season to make next week’s second leg at the Mestalla a virtual formality as Luis Enrique’s men closed in on a second successive Copa del Rey final.