Guedes thunderbolt books Valencia spot in Copa del Rey final

Goncalo Guedes’ 30-metre drive two minutes before half-time booked Valencia’s place in the Copa del Rey final, with a 1-0 win at home to Athletic Bilbao giving them a 2-1 aggregate semi-final win.

The Portuguese forward collected a headed clearance following a free-kick and unleashed an unstoppable shot to decide a game of few chances played on Wednesday night.

The game was intense from the start, with both teams looking to pressure their rivals high up the pitch and force errors.

Bryan Gil had the first chance as his shot for Valencia was deflected just wide, while at the other end Giorgi Mamardashvili got across to deny Iker Muniain, although the chance was ruled out for offside.

Gabriel Paulista picked up a yellow card after Inaki Williams had slipped the ball past him and he obstructed the forward as Williams looked to bear down on goal.

The match turned in the 42nd minute when Williams did get through on goal, but he took too long to shoot and allowed Mamadashvili to make a key block, and just a minute later Guedes unleashed his thunderbolt to decide the tie, reports Xinhua.

Carlos Soler almost made it 2-0 in first-half injury time, but Athletic keeper Julen Agirrezabala made a close-range block.

With a lead, Valencia were able to disrupt Athletic with tactics to run down the clock in the second half, even though Oihan Sancet, Nico Williams and Unai Vencedor all came on to try and bring more life to the visitors’ attack.

Valencia will play the winner of the second semi-final in which Real Betis defend a 2-1 first-leg lead at home to Rayo Vallecano.

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