Sevilla control tie after last-gasp goal

Reuters, MADRID

Sat, Nov 03, 2012 - Page 18

Alvaro Negredo scored a last-minute penalty to put Copa del Rey specialists Sevilla in control of their round-of-32 tie against RCD Espanyol with a 3-1 first-leg win on Thursday.

Sevilla lifted the trophy in 2006-2007 and 2009-2010 and unlike many other La Liga teams in this round of the much-maligned competition, they fielded an almost full-strength side at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Federico Fazio headed in a corner after three minutes and the visitors leveled in the 70th following a brilliant run and shot from Christian Alfonso.

Defender Cala bundled the ball in for the hosts from another corner in the 83rd minute, before Espanyol fullback Ernesto Gallan was shown a second yellow card for a foul in the penalty area and Spain international striker Negredo netted from the spot.

“The best thing about the game is the result,” Sevilla coach Michel told a press conference. “We can play much better than this.”

La Liga sides Getafe and Real Valladolid also won, but a clutch of top-flight sides lost to lower-league opposition, including CA Osasuna, Real Sociedad and Levante UD.

Last season’s runners-up Athletic Bilbao could only manage a 0-0 draw at neighbors SD Eibar of Segunda B (the third tier) on a rain-soaked, churned-up pitch.

La Liga basement side CA Osasuna were beaten 1-0 at second-tier Sporting de Gijon after Gaston Sangoy netted in the 15th minute.

Real Sociedad went down 2-0 at second-tier Cordoba, while Europa League competitors Levante UD lost 1-0 at third-tier UD Melilla, who managed to hold on to their lead despite being reduced to 10 men near the end.

“Melilla were intense and more competitive,” Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martinez said. “We need to make sure we never underestimate anyone and we must always keep our focus.”

All three sides have the comfort of home advantage when they look to turn the ties around in the second legs scheduled for Nov. 28.

Getafe thrashed second-tier SD Ponferradina 4-0 with a brace from Jaime Gavilan, while Real Valladolid triumphed 1-0 at home to Real Betis Balompie thanks to a goal by Alberto Bueno just before halftime.

In Thursday’s late game, Manuel Pablo’s fizzing long-range volley for RC Deportivo de La Coruna was canceled out by Pedro Geromel’s back-post header for RCD Mallorca, leaving the sides level at 1-1 ahead of the return leg in Palma.