Fri, Jan 13, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Soldado nets as Valencia dump Sevilla out of Copa


Sevilla goalkeeper Javier Varas, bottom, claims the ball as Valencia’s Roberto Soldado jumps over him in their Copa del Rey match at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville, Spain, on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Valencia ousted Sevilla from the Copa del Rey despite a 2-1 loss on Wednesday, advancing on away goals after striker Roberto Soldado scored in the second half.

Soldado ran on to an excellent through ball by Jonas, who scored in Valencia’s 1-0 first-leg win, and coolly slotted a finish past goalkeeper Javier Varas into the right corner of the net for his team’s 66th-minute opener.

Midfielder Ivan Ratikic pounced on a rebound to level for the hosts four minutes later and Valencia defender Victor Ruiz scored an own-goal in stoppage-time, but his team still advanced on the aggregate score of 2-2.

“We are satisfied because after a tough match that hinged on details in key moments, the team was able to pull it out,” Valencia coach Unai Emery said.

Valencia will face regional rival Levante UD in the quarter-finals after they swept aside second-tier Alcorcon 4-0 for a 5-2 aggregate score, while Alvaro Vazquez scored a hat-trick as RCD Espanyol beat second-division Cordoba 4-2 for a 5-4 overall advantage.

Sevilla forward Jose Antonio Reyes had a quiet home debut at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan since returning to his boyhood club from Atletico Madrid last week.

Needing to score from the outset, Sevilla took the initiative early with Piotr Trochowski, Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas all drawing saves from Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves.

Sevilla’s pressure kept Valencia on the back foot and defender Adil Rami almost scored an own-goal in the 26th minute when he redirected Negredo’s strike off the post.

Valencia finally threatened the hosts’ area after the half-hour mark when Varas was forced to make a pair of diving saves to parry long strikes by Soldado and Jonas.

With the score 1-1, Ruiz chested a cross into his own net to give Sevilla hope and Frederic Kanoute almost secured advancement for Sevilla in the dying moments, but he headed wide.

Jose Barkero sparked Levante’s rout by scoring on the break in the 23rd minute. Reserve team striker Roger Marti made it 2-0 when he shot into the top of the net in the 45th minute and midfielder Vicente Iborra headed in a corner-kick at the near post in the 52nd minute to put the tie beyond doubt.

Ruben Suarez capped the win in the 65th minute with a perfectly placed free-kick that he smashed into the top right corner of the net from well outside the area.

Levante, who earlier this season surprisingly took the lead in La Liga for the first time in their history, have not advanced this far in the domestic cup since 1941.

“Our priority is the league, but we are also going to compete for the Copa,” Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martinez said. “We got by Deportivo, we have beaten Alcorcon, and if we can make it through the next round, we’ll be very happy.”

The 20-year-old Alvaro, who netted the late equalizer in Espanyol’s 1-1 draw with Barcelona on Sunday, scored from passes from Sergio Garcia in the 10th minute and Vladimir Weiss in the 21st minute.

Defender Didac Vila extended Espanyol’s lead in the 36th minute at the Estadio Cornella-El Prat with a shot from inside the area, but Cordoba responded with goals from Alberto Aguilar and Pepe Diaz to make it 3-2, a result that would have put the Andalusian team through.

Espanyol mustered a late push and Alvaro deftly chipped oncoming goalkeeper Carlos Arias from the right side of the box for the 89th-minute decider.

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