Granada stuns Valencia to reach Copa del Rey semifinals
MADRID (AP) — Granada reached the semifinals of the Copa del Rey for the first time in five decades by eliminating defending champion Valencia 2-1 on Tuesday thanks to a stoppage-time penalty awarded by video review.
Former Valencia forward Roberto Soldado converted the penalty four minutes into added time after VAR awarded the spot kick for a handball by a Valencia player after a corner.
“It was an open match, with chances for both teams,” Valencia coach Albert Celades said. “In the end the game was decided by a VAR decision.”
The 34-year-old Soldado had put the hosts ahead three minutes into the match, but Valencia equalized through Rodrigo near halftime.
Valencia, an eight-time Copa champion, was seeking its third straight semifinal appearance.
Granada will be playing in the last four for fourth time — and first since 1969. It hadn’t made it to the last eight in 19 years, and its best Copa campaign was a runner-up finish in 1959.
Valencia had eliminated third-division teams in the previous rounds. It needed a penalty shootout to get past Cultural Leonesa in the last 16.
Granada is playing in the first division this season after a two-year absence.