Barcelona advances to Copa quarterfinals; Sevilla eliminated
MADRID (AP) — Barcelona halted its struggles under new coach Quique Setién by routing Leganés and advancing to the Copa del Rey quarterfinals on Thursday, while Sevilla couldn’t get past second-division club Mirandés.
After Lionel Messi led Barcelona to a 5-0 win over Leganés, five-time Copa champion Sevilla was stunned 3-1 by the small team from Miranda de Ebro, a city of about 35,000 people in northern Spain.
Antoine Griezmann and Clement Lenglet scored first-half goals for Barcelona before Messi netted two and Arthur added another after the break as the Catalan club reached the last eight of the Copa for the 10th straight year.
Setién fielded a strong lineup after resting Messi and other regular starters in the previous round, when it barely avoided elimination thanks to two late goals by Griezmann against third-division club Ibiza.
Setién was under pressure because of the team’s lackluster performances since he took over from Ernesto Valverde this month. Barcelona was coming off a 2-0 loss at Valencia, a result that cost the team the Spanish league lead.
“We are trying to get used to the way Setién wants us to play, which is different from before,” Griezmann said. “We still have things to improve but we are on the right track.”
Barcelona was in control from the start against Leganés , creating a series of chances and rarely being threatened by its relegation-threatened opponent. Leganés sits second-to-last in the Spanish league standings.
Griezmann opened the scoring less than five minutes into the game with a shot from close range after a pass by Nélson Semedo, and defender Clement Lenglet added to the lead with a header from a corner taken by Messi in the 28th. Messi scored from inside the area in the 59th and 89th minutes, while substitute Arthur netted in the 78th.
Griezmann had a goal disallowed for offside shortly after his opener at the less-than-packed Camp Nou Stadium.
Barcelona last failed to reach the Copa quarterfinals in 2009-10, when it was eliminated by Sevilla in the round of 16. The Catalan club was runner-up to Valencia last year.
Valencia and Real Madrid advanced to the last eight on Wednesday. The defending champion eliminated third-division club Cultural Leonesa on penalties and Madrid routed second-division club Zaragoza 4-0.
The Copa del Rey is being playing in single-elimination games this season, except in the semifinals.
The draw for next week’s quarterfinals will be on Friday , with Mirandés as the only lower-division club still in the competition.
Sevilla struggled from the start against Mirandés as it tried to reach the last eight for a third straight season.
Forward Matheus Aias scored in the seventh and 30th minutes, and Álvaro Rey sealed the victory in the 85th.
“It’s a prize for us to have made it to the quarterfinals,” said Rey, who is from Seville and comes from a family filled with Sevilla fans. “I’m sure that they are all happy for me now. I get paid by Mirandés and I had to do my best to help the club.”
Sevilla is third in the Spanish league standings, while Mirandés sits 10th in the second-division table. It has never played in the country’s top tier.
Manuel “Nolito” Agudo netted Sevilla’s lone goal in stoppage time.