News Archive

Copa del Rey, fifth round, second leg

Valencia and Atlético Madrid are the last two teams to make it into tomorrow’s quarter final draw after they both won by three goal margins on Thursday. Valencia were already four up against Granada, but they clocked up a 0-3 win in the Los Cármenes stadium to make 7-0 on aggregate. The Andalusians started positively though, El-Arabi and Isaac Success bring good saves out of Mat Ryan, Mainz and El-Arabi going close, and Rochina firing a shot against the post. However with four minutes to go to the break Zahibo got in front of Kelava to head in a corner, and a few minutes after the restart Paco Alcácer ran on to a long ball from Danilo to beat the keeper for a second time. That was the end of any resistance from the locals, and with five minutes to go Piatti converted a penalty after Babín brought down Bakkali in the area.

Later in the evening Atlético beat neighbours Rayo Vallecano 3-0 to tie up their place in the last eight. After the 1-1 draw in Vallecas, the visitors needed to score, and Moyà had to be on his toes to keep out Embarba early on. However Thomas responded with a looping header which Yoel had to push out for a corner, and shortly before half time Correa opened the scoring with a shot in off the crossbar from outside of the area. Embarba shot just wide and Jackson Martínez tested Yoel a couple of times after the restart, but with the result in doubt Simeone turned to Griezmann. And once again the substitution did the trick, the French striker hooking the ball past Yoel after Godín headed on Koke’s corner, and then touching a long Koke pass past the visiting keeper to run on and score his team’s third right at the end. (14.01.16)

Four more second-leg ties on Wednesday, with Barcelona, Celta, Athletic Bilbao and Las Palmas all making it through. Barcelona were already 1-4 up against city rivals Espanyol, and they added to that with a 0-2 victory in the Cornellà stadium. After the recent heated exchanges in the last two derbies, both coaches left out some of the main protagonists, Luis Suárez, Diop and Hernán Pérez all suspended, and Pau López, Piqué, Busquets and Neymar on the bench. Even so though there were some tense moments, Dani Alves, Caicedo and Alvaro all close to picking up red cards for aggressive challenges on Salva Sevilla, Ter Stegen and Messi, and league representatives reporting the home fans for offensive banners and chants throughout on the match. On the footballing front though the result was never in doubt, Munir taking advantage of a rare start to open the scoring after Messi put him through midway through the first half. Bardi had to make a couple of saves from Messi, and Ter Stegen did well to keep out Caicedo, but with two minutes to go new signings Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal set up Munir for his second of the night.

Celta had a relatively quiet (but rainy) evening against second division B side Cádiz, the Galicians winning 2-0 on the night, and 5-0 on aggregate. Despite having little chance of overturning the first leg result, the visitors started well, Quintana testing Rubén Blanco and Román and Alvaro going close. However with ten minutes to go to the break Guidetti opened the scoring from the penalty spot after he fell under a challenge from Pol, and soon after the restart the Swedish striker came up against the keeper again, his follow up rattling the crossbar. Berizzo used the occasion though to try out several of his youngsters and reserve players, Drazic in particular making a claim for more first team football with a couple of shots which Pol kept out, and then running on to a Pablo Hernández return pass to lift a shot over the advancing keeper with a quarter of an hour to go.

Last season’s runners up Athletic Bilbao qualified for the quarter finals after beating a depleted Villarreal 0-1 in the first match of the evening. The Basque side had fought back from two down to win the first leg 3-2, and Williams and Iturraspe both shot wide before Williams picked up a through ball from Laporte to steer a shot past Barbosa with twenty minutes on the clock. After that though both teams lost interest, and although there were long efforts from either side, neither keeper had too much work to do.

Only one tie was really in the balance, Las Palmas having some problems against Eibar before running out 3-2 winners for the second time in a week. The Canary Islanders went ahead with a comical own goal shortly before the break, Wakaso’s quick throw-in catching Irureta out of his area, and Juncà bundling the ball into his own net under pressure from Willian José. However Medilibar’s half time team talk worked wonders, and within five minutes of the restart an Ekiza header from Saúl Berjón’s free kick, and a strike at the second attempt by Sergi Enrich, had turned the scoreline around. The locals were still in front on the away goal rule though, and soon afterwards Momo levelled the scores after Pantic failed to clear Wakaso’s cross. Inui, Wakaso and Valerón all brought good saves out of the two keepers after that, but with seven minutes to go Irureta could only get a weak hand to a long cross, and David García took advantage to put the game beyond the reach of the visitors. (13.01.16)

A big surprise on Tuesday night, second division side Mirandés winning 0-3 at Deportivo to make it through to the quarter finals of the cup! After the two teams drew 1-1 last week the Galicians were favourites to qualify, and coach Víctor Sánchez del Amo rested several of his key players for what was considered to be a mere formality. However with four minutes to go to the break Provencio fired a long shot past Manu Fernández after Sangalli laid the ball back, and just ten minutes after the restart Abdón Prats made it two with a long free kick which bounced past everyone into the net. Víctor brought on all his fire power, including Lucas Pérez up front, but although Raúl Fernández had to save a couple of times from Fede Cartabia, Provencio scored again with a carbon copy of his first goal. Bergantiños did hit the upright late on, but Mirandés held on to take another first division scalp, bringing back memories of their famous cup run from four years ago when they reached the semi-finals whilst still playing at the third level of Spanish football.

Sevilla though had no problems seeing off city rivals Betis, Unai Emery’s side following up on their 0-2 win in the first leg with a convincing 4-0 victory in the Sánchez Pizjuán stadium. With only four minutes gone Reyes headed the opener after Adán could only push out Mariano’s deflected cross, and later on in the first half Rami made it two with a low shot after a short corner was played into the box. The visitors were limited to long shots by Vargas, Piccini and Petros either side of half time, and in the last quarter of an hour Gameiro and Kakuta added two more with angled shots for the final scoreline. Betis caretaker coach Juan Merino, a lifelong fan who took over from his boss Pepe Mel a few days ago, said in a press conference afterwards that it felt like there had been a death in family. That’s how serious they take their football in the South of Spain! (12.01.16)