round of 16
Betis fell on penalties against the Navarrese team and Morata gave the mattresses the necessary calm against Levante
Atlético, Athletic, Valencia and Osasuna, who eliminated the reigning champion on penalties after a crazy game at Villamarín, surpassed this Wednesday the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey, whose quarterfinal draw will be held on Friday after the resolution of the qualifying rounds that Real Madrid and Barça will play against Villarreal and Ceuta, respectively.
As Real Sociedad and Sevilla did the day before, the favourites, except for Betis, did not fail in their round of 16 matches in a single match. Thus, three teams that share 41 Cup titles, in addition to Osasuna, which gave the great blow against the defending champion, took the penultimate step towards the final that will be played again in La Cartuja, on May 6.
Although the champion is no longer there and, at the expense of the two colossi of Spanish football, the continuity sealed this Wednesday by the rojiblancos (from Madrid and Bilbao), the black and white and the rojillos augurs quarter-finals in the cup tie that will be played immediately, the next week. At least two other champions of the competition will also be there, while Real is established in the Champions League position and Sevilla fights for salvation in the highest category.
The most suffered and complicated duel of the day, a true cupbearer, Betis had to face against Osasuna, who took the Villamarín clash to extra time almost on the buzzer and triumphed on penalties. After a goal from Willian Carvalho at the hour of the game, David García achieved an unexpected equalizer for the Navarrese in the 92nd minute. In extra time it was Sabaly, after a generous pass from Borja Iglesias, who raised the Verdiblanca fans in the 103rd minute However, as soon as the second part of extra time began, Rubén García returned to equalize such an attractive contest, which was resolved by penalties in favor of a tireless and very well worked Osasuna who never gave up.
Atlético did not have a comfortable match at the Ciutat de València against a ‘second’. In the always difficult terrain of Levante, the team that only has the Cup left to save its bad season won 0-2, thanks to a goal from Álvaro Morata at the beginning of the second half and another from Llorente already in added time . Levante, rightly feared by the colchoneros, had not lost since October 9, but the Atlético striker helped save Diego Pablo Simeone’s team from another hit, who, true to form, once again gave a worrying step back after taking the lead on the scoreboard.
Outside of Europe and away from the fight for the League, the Cup is the only thing that this Atlético clings to, which remains alive but continues to remain on the wire, as it demonstrated again against Levante to which the rojiblancos gave air for their Bad habit of betting on defending instead of definitively closing the matches. Distraught by their lack of punch, Atlético were dominated by Levante in the first half, but Morata’s goal in the 54th minute gave them the necessary calm to guarantee the pass and avoid another failure, which would have been premature again after the elimination in the round of 16 against Real in the previous edition. As their coach acknowledges, Atlético continues to progress, although they must continue to improve to continue dreaming of the Cup.
However, the current cup runner-up, Valencia, gave Sporting a review at El Molinón, which with the debut of Miguel Ángel Ramírez on the bench after the dismissal of Abelardo took a 0-4 lead, led by Edinson Cavani. Author of a double, the veteran Uruguayan striker, who is going through a great moment, a leading player in such an unbalanced clash, along with Justin Kluivert, who also scored.
The win, which could have been larger for Gennaro Gattuso’s team, was closed by Samuel Lino. Valencia took advantage of Sporting’s defensive fragility in a match that was sentenced before the break, when in the 39th minute Cavani signed a great goal after a lethal counter.
Neither did Athletic fail against Espanyol, although despite their enormous superiority in the first half, the lions lacked punch and could only beat the parakeets by the minimum, thanks to a goal from De Marcos in the 27th minute, enough to continue with his great streak in a single match. San Mamés once again enjoyed Athletic’s new classification, which was much better than Espanyol who did not shoot on goal in 90 minutes and is much more concerned about the League, to avoid relegation to Second.
The Cup runner-up in 2020 and 2021, champion of the KO tournament up to 23 times, did not need Muniain or Iñaki Willians in the eleven to impose his law against a timorous Espanyol, despite the fact that after the break Ernesto Valverde’s team lowered the rhythm and suffered more from the physical and defensive display of the blue and white team.