Blackman gives 2nd-tier Sporting win over Valencia in Copa
MADRID (AP) — Substitute forward Nick Blackman scored the winning goal with his first touch of the ball Tuesday to give second-division club Sporting Gijon a 2-1 win over Valencia in the first leg of their round-of-16 match in the Copa del Rey.
Blackman found the net in the 79th minute with a diving header just moments after entering the match.
The hosts had opened the scoring with a close-range shot by Javi Noblejas in the 34th, and Valencia equalized through Dani Parejo's 45th-minute goal that was confirmed after video review.
Parejo's shot struck the crossbar and bounced just inside the goal line but the officiating crew let the play continue. Kevin Gameiro headed the ball into the net off the rebound but he was called offside, also incorrectly. The review eventually awarded the goal to Parejo.
VAR is making its Copa debut at this stage of the competition.
Sporting, the only second-tier team still in the Copa, will visit Valencia in next week's second leg.
"It's still open, but we are Valencia, we had to win this match today," Valencia goalkeeper Jaume Domenech said.
In other first-leg games on Wednesday, Atletico Madrid visits Girona while Real Madrid hosts Leganes. Barcelona is at Levante on Thursday.