Bakambu brace helps Villarreal advance in Copa del Rey

FC Barcelona's Aleix Vidal scores during a Spanish Copa del Rey round of 32 second leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Murcia at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

MADRID (AP) Forward Cedric Bakambu scored a goal in each half as Villarreal defeated third-division team Ponferradina 3-0 in the Copa del Rey on Thursday, advancing to the next round 3-1 on aggregate.

Villarreal was under pressure after a 1-0 first-leg loss in the tournament’s Round of 32, but it took control of the game early in the second half at its Ceramica Stadium.

Villarreal was wary of an upset after seeing two top-flight teams – Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad – eliminated by third-division clubs on Wednesday.

Bakambu put Villarreal ahead in the 47th minute, and added a second goal in the 62nd. Carlos Bacca sealed victory in the 64th.

Bakambu has been decisive for Villarreal this season. The French striker has scored five goals in his last three games and is the team’s leading scorer in the Spanish league with nine goals, three fewer than league-leader Lionel Messi after 13 rounds.

Villarreal had the return of goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo nearly nine months after sustaining a serious knee injury.

Three-time defending champion Barcelona and Atletico Madrid went through to the last 16 on Wednesday, a day after Real Madrid advanced.

ESPANYOL SURVIVES

Espanyol defeated second-division team Tenerife 3-2 to advance after a scoreless draw in the first leg.

Tenerife went ahead with a goal by Bryan Acosta only 10 minutes into the match, but the hosts rallied to victory with the next three goals.

The first came after a mistake by match officials led by referee Iglesias Villanueva, with Espanyol awarded a penalty even though the ball touched the hand of a Tenerife defender outside the area. Villanueva last weekend did not see that a shot by Lionel Messi crossed the goal line in Barcelona’s match against Valencia in the Spanish league.

ALAVES MOVES ON

Munir El Haddadi scored a pair of goals and Bojan Krkic added another as Alaves routed fellow first-division club Getafe 3-0 to advance 4-0 on aggregate.

It was Alaves’ first match since firing Italian coach Gianni de Biasi after poor results in the Spanish league.

Assistant coach Javier Cabello was the team’s interim coach.

Getafe had beaten Alaves 4-1 in the Spanish league two weeks ago.

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