The tie is up in the air ahead of the second leg in Valencia after the centre-back equalised with a powerful header
Athletic Club and Levante UD drew 1-1 at San Mamés in the first leg of their Copa Del Rey semi-final tie.
Centre-back Iñigo Martiñez scored a thumping header from a corner to put Athletic back on level footing after Gonzalo Melero’s first-half opener for Levante.
It was a match in which chances were scarce. Paco Lopez’s Levante made the most of theirs. A cross into the box caught the Lions off-guard and Melero calmly finished past Unai Simón at the second attempt.
Athletic looked out of sorts and Marcelino ringed the changes at half-time in search of a solution. The boss overhauled the Rojiblancos midfield, bringing on Unai Lopez, Mikel Vesga and Alex Berenguer.
The improvement was immediate. Winger Berenguer twice went close just after the break but was denied by Levante’s keeper Daniel Cárdenas, while striker Iñaki Williams also forced the shotstopper into action.
It was only a matter of time till Athletic equalised and they did so in the 58th minute via a set-piece. Captain Iker Muniain put it on a plate and Martinez hit the back of the net with a fierce header.
Athletic dominated the encounter but struggled to find a breakthrough. Levante might feel they have the edge after picking up an away goal but Athletic have a history of overturning these situations in this competition.
The tie will be settled at the Estadio Ciutat de Valencia on March 4.