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Sporting Gijon 2-1 Valencia: Nick Blackman seals deserved win for hosts

Sporting Gijon 2-1 Valencia: Nick Blackman seals deserved win for hosts

Nick Blackman came off the bench to win the game for Sporting Gijon against Valencia in the first leg of their last-16 Copa del Rey tie.

Valencia approached the game as slight favourites due to their La Liga standing over Segunda side Sporting, but the opening half an hour proved to be a fairly even encounter.

Michy Batshuayi and Kevin Gameiro were chosen as the front two by Los Che boss Marcelino and both had slight chances in the opening exchanges, whilst the home side, who opted to play a 4-3-3 system – looked good on the break.

And, their counter attacking style saw them take the lead just after the half hour mark when Javi Noblejas tapped home a superb move involving winger Andre Sousa.

The hosts’ lead looked to be secured leading up to the half time break, however, Valencia started to turn the screw with Dani Parejo being the orchestator and it was the Spanish midfielder who gave the away side the equaliser.

Parejo’s thunderous drive smashed against the crossbar and clearly went over the line seconds before the break and once it was confirmed by VAR – Marcelino’s players had reason to celebrate.

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The second half saw Valencia sit back and create very little, despite the arrival of Rodrigo, who replaced Michy Batshuayi at the break.

Sporting had chances to take the lead as Sousa and Noblejas both tested Jaume Domenech in the Valencia.

As the game entered the final twenty minutes, Valencia did have a good chance to go in front as Gameiro attempted an audacious scissor kick, which went over the crossbar from close range.

But, it would prove to the home side who scored the next goal as English striker Nick Blackman came off the bench to head past Domenech with his first touch and send the home crowd into raptures.

The goal proved decisive and settled the first leg, ensuring Valencia have it all to do at the Mestalla.