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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Dusan Tadic‘s awful penalty was the only real highlight of an otherwise drab 0-0 draw between Serbia and Romania at Arena Nationala in Bucuresti.
Serbia was awarded the spot-kick after Gabriel Tamas was sent off for a high boot in the box right to the face of Mijat Gacinovic. Tadic stepped up to take the penalty and after a slow, awkward run-up, he blasted his penalty well over the top-left corner, not even close to hitting the target.
Many after the match criticized Serbia for not having in-form Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic take the penalty instead of Tadic. Mitrovic scored a penalty just three days ago in a 2-0 win over Montenegro. There were just six total shots on target throughout the entire match split three and three between the two teams. Serbia dominated the majority of play, holding 70% of possession and winning the corner count 11-3.
Elsewhere, Denis Cheryshev continued his hot streak for Russia as they stole a 2-0 win over Turkey in Sochi. Cheryshev has scored six goals in his last nine international appearances dating back to the World Cup. Cheryshev didn’t start the match, but came on with 19 minutes to go and Russia already a goal up on a Roman Neustädter 20th minute strike.
Turkey, featuring a lineup that included Everton striker Cenk Tosun and Roma youngster Cengiz Ünder, held 60% possession and out-passed a Russia team that only completed 67% of its passes. Still, they struggled up front as 30-year-old Fenerbahce CB Neustadter partnered well alongside Georgi Dzhikiya. Neither defender was part of the Russian World Cup squad this past summer.
Also in Nations League play, Faroe Islands drew 1-1 with Kosovo, while Malta and Azerbaijan also finished level at 1-1 in Baku.
Russian winger Denis Cheryshev, who went from bench substitute to four-goal scorer at this summer’s World Cup in his home country, is under investigation by Spain’s anti-doping agency, according to multiple reports including the BBC and ESPN.
The 27-year-old is reportedly under investigation by the Spanish anti-doping agency AEPSAD for the use of human growth hormone (HGH) after his father Dimitri told a Russian media outlet that his son was taking HGH. The use of HGH without an exemption would be a violation of the anti-doping rules and could lead to a four-year ban.
Dimitri Cheryshev had initially told Russian publication Sport Weekend that his son was taking HGH to treat an injury, but later attempted to clarify his remarks to say he meant vitamin “growth factor” and that his quotes were misinterpreted. Denis Cheryshev missed most of both the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons due to persistent injuries. A hamstring injury nagged him throughout the the 2015/16 campaign with both Real Madrid and Valencia, limiting him to just 7 La Liga appearances that year, eventually needing surgery in May which kept him out of Euro 2016. He made just 11 appearances for Villareal in 2016/17 due to constant muscle problems.
“We have opened an investigation to get more information regarding this case,” an AEPSAD spokesman said to ESPN. “We are investigating the case in collaboration with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency and we are in contact with the World Anti-Doping Agency. This case has emerged following the comments made by the player, Cheryshev, and his father. We want to know more information. We have started the process but it’s still early to draw conclusions. We don’t know how long this case will take.”
According to the Telegraph, the Russian Football Union has claimed Cheryshev received platelet-rich plasma injection, which is legal. They also accused the journalist in the initial Sport Weekend story of misquoting Dimitri, and while the newspaper claimed the quote was correct, they also corroborated the father’s claim that he meant “growth factor” claiming he even referred to the treatment as such later in the interview.
Cheryshev was not expected to play a significant part in Russia’s World Cup plans, but when he came off the bench for an injured Alan Dzagoev and scored two goals in the win over Saudi Arabia and scored again in the subsequent victory over Egypt, he was undroppable, contributing heavily in Russia’s surprising run to the quarterfinals. Overall he has five international goals in 18 appearances for Russia.
MADRID (AP) Valencia says it has reached an agreement with Villarreal to get Russia forward Denis Cheryshev on loan.
The club says the loan is “pending” and will be valid until the end of the season.
Cheryshev scored four goals at the World Cup, helping Russia reach the quarterfinals.
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The 27-year-old player had already been with Valencia on a loan in 2016. He was previously with Real Madrid but had few opportunities with the team’s main squad.
Valencia also added forward Kevin Gameiro from Atletico Madrid and striker Michy Batshuayi from Chelsea.
Valencia finished fourth in the Spanish league last season.
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- Russia goals: Fathy o.g. (48′), Cheryshev (59′), Dzyuba (62′)
- Egypt: Salah (PK, 73′)
- Next: Russia-Uruguay, Egypt-Saudi Arabia
Hosts Russia scored a trio of second half goals to all but seal the first spot in the 2018 World Cup’s Round of 16 with a 3-1 win over Egypt on Tuesday in Saint Petersburg.
The loss means Egypt is 0-2, the Pharoahs unable to find momentum despite the return of Mohamed Salah. Egypt needs a wild combination of factors to stay alive for the knockout rounds, and is likely heading home.
Salah won and converted a penalty for Egypt, while Denis Cheryshev, Artem Dzyuba, and an Egyptian own goal accounted for Russia’s goals.
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Some sloppy play out of the back allowed Golovin a shot from outside the 18 but he hit his effort wide of the frame.
Egypt stayed in the mix though, and a Russian mistake deep in its own end forced Zhirkov to concede a corner with a desperation intervention that stopped Mo Salah from a doorstep opportunity.
Salah then won a yard of space but fired wide in the 42nd minute after Zhirkov stopped him from going to his right peg.
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Russia went ahead through an Egypt own goal from Fathy, who was jostling for position with Artem Dzyuba and turned Roman Zobnin’s mishit inside his net.
After Cheryshev made it 2-0, Dzyuba took an Ilya Kutepov long ball out of the air with his chest before turning past Ahmed Hegazy and blasting Russia’s third goal home.
Salah won a penalty in the 73rd minute, one initially ruled a free kick, and the Liverpool man blasted his shot home.