Betis take the lead over Rayo Vallecano in Copa del Rey semifinal

Sports Desk, Feb 9 (EFE).- Real Betis came from behind Wednesday to edge Rayo Vallecano 2-1 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal.

A festive atmosphere prevailed in Madrid’s Vallecas neighborhood ahead of Rayo’s second-ever appearance in the tournament’s final four, 42 years later.

The match couldn’t have started any better for the hosts, as Alvaro Garcia gave Rayo the lead with a header from close range in the 5th minute.

Undaunted, Betis deployed a high press and the tactic bore fruit in the 25th minute with an equalizer by Borja Iglesias, who would have a second goal right before the break but for a clutch save by Rayo goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski.

The teams were still deadlocked with 30 minutes left in regulation and Rayo coach turned to Radamel Falcao, but the rejuvenated 35-year-old Colombian great was effectively neutralized by Betis.

William Carvalho put the visitors ahead in the 67th minute and Betis will carry a 2-1 edge into the March 3 second leg in Seville.

Athletic Club, who have won the Copa 23 times, will welcome Valencia to Bilbao on Thursday for the first leg of the other semifinal. EFE


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