SEVILLE, Spain (AP)Real Betis beat Valencia 5-4 on penalties to win the Copa del Rey after teenager Yunus Musah missed the only spot kick in the shootout that finished early Sunday.
The United States midfielder, who went on as a substitute, sent the ball high over Claudio Bravo’s goal to the joy of Betis’ fans.
It was Betis’ third Copa del Rey title, ending a 17-year wait for a major title for the Seville-based side.
”This is what we wanted, to win the Copa del Rey again,” said Betis’ 40-year-old captain Joaquin Sanchez, who converted in the shootout and received the trophy from Spain’s King Felipe VI. ”This is thanks to the work not only of this year. We have grown little by little and are having a great season.”
The Betis fan favorite then performed some sweeps with a bull-fighting cape as part of the on-pitch celebrations for the green-clad section of 53,000 spectators who packed the stands at Seville’s Estadio La Cartuja.
The final offered a pulsating contest dominated for periods by both sides.
Manuel Pellegrini’s Betis got an 11th-minute opener from a header by Borja Iglesias, who led its attack all night. Sergio Canales and Juanmi Jimenez both hit the post, and Valencia needed goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili to deny Nabil Fekir and Iglesias in the final moments of regular time.
Valencia relied on its counterattacks, which produced an equalizer in the 30th when Hugo Duro chipped the ball over Bravo on the break after he was played through by Ilaix Moriba.
It stayed 1-1 at the end of regulation and through 30 minutes of extra time, when the scoring chances dried up as the players visibly wore down.
Mamardashvili, a goalie from Georgia who joined Valencia in the January transfer market, could not stop spot kicks by Willian Jose, Joaquin, Andres Guardado, Cristian Tello and Juan Miranda, a substitute who clinched the title with No. 5.
Valencia was hoping to add to its collection of eight cups. Carlos Soler, Uros Racic, Goncalo Guedes and Jose Gaya converted four of their team’s five spot kicks.
”Soccer is this, wonderful sometimes, other times cruel,” Gaya, Valencia’s captain, said as he openly wept. ”This hurts so much. We gave it our all and had our chances. This is very hard because we believed that we could win.”
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports