BARCELONA, Spain -- Barcelona needed an injury-time goal from Xavi to salvage a 1-1 home draw against Valencia in their Spanish Cup semifinal first leg match on Wednesday night.
Barcelona's relief is palpable as Xavi (right) is congratulated by teammates.
Valencia, who need victory in the cup competition to rescue a sorry season which has seen them crash out of the Champions League and slide in the Spanish Primera Liga, had taken the lead through Spanish international striker David Villa after 70 minutes.
Barcelona, who have closed up on leaders Real Madrid in the Spanish title race and are set to reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League after a first leg win over Celtic, had the better of the play but could not break through at the Nou Camp.
They also found Valencia's goalkeeper Timo Hildenbrand in fine form, the German saving neatly from Xavi in the opening skirmishes.
Barca's Argentine star Lionel Messi, wasted early chances in the second half and after Villa had put the visitors ahead conjured up his worst miss as he could not beat Hildenbrand when clean through.
But Xavi came to the rescue ahead of the second leg at the Mestella.
Thursday's second semifinal saw Getafe, who shocked Real Madrid in the league at the weekend, score a 3-1 victory at home to Racing Santander.
De la Red openeded the scoring for the home side on 24 with the other Getafe goals coming from Casquero on 57 and Manu del Moral seven minutes from time. Smolarek replied for Santander on 27.
The second legs are on March 19 and 20. E-mail to a friend