MADRID (AP) Kevin Gameiro scored in stoppage time as Valencia salvaged a 2-2 draw against Real Betis in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals on Thursday.
Betis took a 2-0 lead with a goal scored directly from a corner kick early in the second half, but the late goals gave Valencia the slight edge going into the return match at home later this month.
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Betis is hoping to be back for the May 25 final at its Villamarin Stadium in Seville, which saw a record crowd of 57,123 on Thursday. The other semifinal is being played by four-time defending champion Barcelona and Real Madrid, who drew 1-1 in their first leg on Wednesday at Camp Nou.
Betis opened the scoring with a goal by Loren Moron just before halftime, and veteran Joaquin Sanchez added to the lead with the rare corner kick goal less than 10 minutes into the second half.
The 37-year-old midfielder curled in a mid-height shot from the left corner and Valencia goalkeeper Jaume Domenech couldn’t get back in time to make the save before the ball crossed the goal line. The officiating crew initially let play continue, but a video review quickly confirmed the goal.
Russia forward Denis Cheryshev pulled one back for Valencia with a 70th-minute header after Gameiro’s cross, and the French forward evened the match from close range after a well-placed low pass by Rodrigo two minutes into stoppage time.
Valencia is back in the semifinals for the first time since 2012. It hasn’t made it to the final since it won the last of its seven titles in 2008.
Betis hadn’t reached the last four since it won the second of its two Copa titles in 2005.
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