Barca, Atletico, Sevilla ease into Copa del Rey last 16

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MADRID: Holders Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla eased into the last 16 of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), but Basque duo Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad were eliminated in stunning fashion by third-tier opposition in Formentera and Lleida respectively.

Already leading 3-0 from the first leg, Barca boss Ernesto Valverde made 10 changes from Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash at Valencia with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez among those to drop out for a 5-0 rout of Real Murcia.

Paco Alcacer kept up his fine strike rate this season with his fourth goal of the campaign from just over 400 minutes on the field when he headed home Aleix Vidal’s pass on 16 minutes.

Barca had to wait until 10 minutes into the second half to double their advantage when captain for the night Gerard Pique tapped into an empty net from another Vidal cross.


Vidal then completed a fine team move himself when he headed home Nelson Semedo’s cross.

And fine finishes from Denis Suarez and Jose Manuel Arnaiz rounded off the scoring.

Fernando Torres scored his first two goals of the season as Atletico saw off Elche’s first-leg resistance to progress 4-1 on aggregate with a 3-0 win at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Jose Maria Gimenez gave a strong Atletico side the lead with a thunderous downward header on the half-hour mark.

Two minutes later Torres swept home from a narrow angle for his first goal at Atletico’s new home and then doubled his account by firing in off the bar 22 minutes from time.

Wissam Ben Yedder scored twice in the opening six minutes as Sevilla cruised past Cartagena 4-0 to seal a 7-0 aggregate win in the absence of coach Eduardo Berizzo.

Berizzo underwent surgery on a cancerous tumour of the prostate on Tuesday with his assistant Ernesto Marcucci taking charge whilst he recovers.

Paulo Henrique Ganso and Joaquin Correa were also on target for the five-time winners.

The stories of the night came in the Basque country where both Formentera and Lleida struck late to secure huge upsets.

Formentera’s 12,000 population would fit four times over into Athletic’s San Mames stadium, but the visitors from a tiny island off Ibiza stunned Bilbao thanks to a 97th-minute winner from Alvaro Muniz to advance 2-1 on aggregate.

Athletic’s rivals Sociedad suffered a similar fate as they blew a 2-0 lead on the night and 3-0 advantage on aggregate to lose on away goals to Lleida.

Diego Llorente and Juanmi put the La Liga side in a commanding position before half-time, but second-half goals from Aitor Nunez, Manu Molina and Bojan Radulovic handed Lleida a famous win.

The returning Gareth Bale helped Real Madrid overcome a scare of their own to reach the last 16 on Tuesday despite being held 2-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu by Fuenlabrada in a 4-2 aggregate win.

Celta Vigo, Leganes, Levante, Las Palmas and Numancia have also sealed their places in the last 16.

AFP

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