Bilbao held by Valencia in Copa del Ray semifinal first leg

Real Betis beat Rayo Vallecano 2-1 away in the first leg of the other semifinal on Wednesday.

Athletic Bilbao and Valencia players during the Spanish Copa del Rey semifinal first leg.   -  AP

Athletic Bilbao face a tough battle to make their third successive Copa del Rey final after they were held to a 1-1 home draw in the first leg of their semifinal tie by Valencia on Thursday.

Athletic, who knocked out holder Barcelona and Real Madrid in the previous two rounds, went ahead in the 37th minute thanks to Raul Garcia's header from a free kick.

Valencia, which won the last of its eight titles in 2019, equalised through Hugo Duro in the 65th minute.

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The second leg in Valencia is on March 2.

Bilbao lost the 2020 and 2021 finals.

Real Betis beat Rayo Vallecano 2-1 away in the first leg of the other semifinal on Wednesday.

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