Lo Celso.

MATCH REPORT | All will be decided in the second leg (2-2)

The team didn’t manage to keep a two-goal difference

Real Betis Balompié tied tonight 2-2 with Valencia CF in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals. The team played better than the rival and got a 2-0 lead thanks to the goals scored by Loren and Joaquín. However, the away team scored two goals in the final stage of the match.

The game went underway with the two teams testing each other on the pitch. Valencia were displaying a half field pressing while Betis tried to hold onto the possession.

The first ten minutes were of absolute control for the Green and Whites. The team moved the ball around trying to open gaps in the defence, as Valencia were defending well. In the 10th minute, bad news came when Bartra had to leave the pitch injured. Javi García took his place. The first approach was for the visitors with a free kick shot by Parejo, but the wall deflected to corner kick. After that play, Betis got the ball again and started to put Valencia under siege.

The first for the team came after a long play that ended in Canales. The midfielder turned around and shot but Domènech saved it. Valencia had their first attacking plays soon afterwards and did it so with danger. Soler delivered a low cross and Rodrigo shot but Robles made a great save. For the first time, Betis were under pressure for some minutes. Also, there seem to be a difference of judgement in the fouls, with identical actions from both teams but different outcomes, always in favour of the visitors.

The best so far in the match came after the first half an hour. Canales crossed to the far post where Guardado produced an acrobatic effort that went out just by the post. The team had gotten their composure back and was attacking again. Lo Celso tried with a powerful shot form distance but the ball went over the bar. Just before half time, the team finally got the lead. A corner kick delivered to the far post where Sidnei headed the ball to the centre of the area, where Loren nodded the ball in.

The second half began and Valencia had two early occasions. First, Rodrigo headed blandly and Robles saved without problems. Two minutes later, a cross was deflected by Sidnei and it almost was an own goal. It looked like Valencia had come on stronger, but Betis scored. Joaquín shot directly a corner kick and Domènech took the ball out, but the VAR advised the referee that the ball had completely crossed the goal line. Olympic goal from the captain.

After the second goal, Betis tried to keep the ball as much as they could, building their plays with no rush. Valencia, though, moved their pressing line forward and tried more.

In fact, they scored. After a couple of approaches, a cross to the near post was headed in by Cheryshev. The goal spurred Valencia forward and they tried to attack more. However, Betis continued in control and did not refuse to attack either. The next play was for Loren, who tried from outside the box but sent his shot wide. Immediately after that play, he was subbed and Jesé made his debut with the team.

The final ten minutes came and the tension was evident at Benito Villamarín, as the coal had brought some discomfort. Although, Betis continued with the possession to control the timing of the match. Mandi almost scored with a header following a corner kick, but Domènech saved it. The keeper launched a counterattack that ended with a header from Cheryshev that hit the crossbar. Once in the injury time, another counterattack was finished with a tap in by Gameiro to close the score.

Real Betis Balompié: Joel Robles, Mandi, Bartra (Javi García 10'), Sidnei, Junior (Francis 80'), Carvalho, Guardado, Canales, Lo Celso, Joaquín, Loren (Jesé 77').
Goals: Loren (44'), Joaquín (53').
Booked: Junior (14').

Valencia CF: Domènech, Piccini, Garay, Paulista, Gayà, Soler (Wass 77'), Parejo, Coquelin (Kondogbia 57'), Cheryshev, Rodrigo. Santi Mina (Gameiro 57').
Goals: Cheryshev (69'), Gameiro (91').
Booked: Rodrigo (52'), Soler (64'), Parejo (72').