Valencia avoids upset, reaches Copa del Rey quarterfinals
MADRID (AP) — Valencia avoided being upset in the Copa del Rey with a 3-0 win over second-division club Sporting Gijon on Tuesday, advancing to the quarterfinals 4-2 on aggregate and easing some of the pressure on embattled coach Marcelino.
Valencia hadn’t won in three matches this year and calls for Marcelino’s firing had grown louder in recent days, but the comfortable victory at Mestalla Stadium should give the coach some breathing room.
Valencia needed a victory after losing 2-1 in Gijon last week. It pressed forward from the start but wasn’t able to open the scoring until the second half through Santi Mina with a 65th-minute header. About 10 minutes later, Mina increased the lead with a nice finish from inside the area. Sporting Gijon was one goal away from sending the match into extra time but Ferran Torres sealed the victory for Valencia on a 90th-minute counterattack.
“We talked at halftime and started moving the ball faster and made the crosses into the area quicker,” Mina said. “And that’s how we scored the first two goals.”
The eight goals scored by Mina this season came in four matches, with two in each game.
Sporting was the only team from the lower tiers still in the competition.
Getafe advanced 2-1 on aggregate after holding on for a 1-1 away draw at Valladolid.
Getafe won 1-0 at home last week and took the lead in Valladolid with a 29th-minute penalty kick converted by Angel Rodriguez after a decision awarded by video review. The hosts equalized with Daniele Verde in the 50th but it wasn’t enough.
A small brawl erupted late in the first half after Valladolid left back Nacho Martinez kicked a ball toward the Getafe bench. Martinez and Getafe’s Vitorino Antunes, who was on the bench, were shown yellow cards.
On Wednesday, Real Madrid visits Leganes to defend a 3-0 first-leg win against the city rival, while Atletico Madrid hosts Girona following a 1-1 draw in the match in Catalunya.
Four-time defending Copa champion Barcelona hosts Levante at Camp Nou Stadium on Thursday. It lost the first leg 2-1 without Lionel Messi and other regular starters who were rested.