Real Betis coach Quique Setien rued his team’s inability to make the most of a two-goal lead in Thursday’s 2-2 Copa del Rey semi-final first-leg draw with Valencia, saying they should have been “smarter”.
Betis, whose Benito Villamarin stadium is due to host the final, found themselves two up and cruising just after half-time in front of their own supporters.
Loren Moron opened the scoring with a header just before the break, and Joaquin added to it with a corner that went straight in.
Valencia battled back in the final 20 minutes through Denis Cheryshev and Kevin Gameiro – former players of Betis’ bitter rivals Sevilla – to rescue a draw, which arguably makes them favourites to reach the final ahead of the second leg in Mestalla at the end of the month.
Setien accepted 2-0 perhaps flattered Betis at one point, but he still feels his team should have been more intelligent with their lead.
“We had the ball for a long time, but Valencia penalise you a lot if you make an error,” Setien told reporters.
— Valencia CF English (@valenciacf_en) February 7, 2019
“I already warned they are a very patient team, who expect you to make mistakes. It is the best thing Valencia have, that ability and speed with spaces to hurt you, and this has been the case in both the goals and in some more chances in the first half.
“We gave them the life they needed, including the last goal of the game. There was a ball in the other half that we could have managed differently.
“But winning by going to score [more] has made us draw a game that we thought we had won at 2-0. Maybe 2-0 was an excessive lead, but with that score we should have been smarter.”
Valencia coach Marcelino was quick to temper any excitement, however, urging his team to remain focused with 90 minutes still to play.
“We have to control the euphoria,” he said. “It’s up to us and you, journalists of Valencia. We are not in the final, we have to play another game of 90 minutes.
“Believing that we are in the final can play a trick on us. You have to be humble and respectful. They are a very good team and we have to play a great game to be in the final, otherwise it may not be.
“We do not consider ourselves favourites, we must think that there are 90 minutes left in Mestalla which will be difficult for the two teams.
“Betis have won in Camp Nou, in the Santiago Bernabeu and, therefore, even if we have a favourable result, we are not in the final.”
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