Valencia beat Athletic to reach Copa del Rey final

Sports Desk, Mar 2 (EFE).- Valencia edged Athletic Club 1-0 in Wednesday’s second leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal to prevail 2-1 on aggregate.

Athletic, who eliminated Copa holders Barcelona and LaLiga leaders Real Madrid to get this far, were trying to reach the final for a third straight year in pursuit of their 24th title in the competition, second only to Barça’s 31.

Instead, it is eight-time Copa del Rey winners Valencia who are waiting for the outcome of the other semifinal between Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano to learn who they will face in the April 23 final.

The Bilbao side had 65 percent possession in the contest at the Mestalla, but managed only one shot on target compared with three for the hosts.

Two minutes after Athletic’s Iñaki Williams tested Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili, Gonçalo Guedes put the home side ahead in the 43rd minute with a blast from distance that would prove to be enough to decide the tie. EFE ag/dr

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