Atletico, Valencia enter Copa del Rey quarters

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Madrid, Jan 15 (IANS) Atletico Madrid and Valencia both posted 3-0 victories in their second leg matches to claim the final two slots in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey football tournament.

Rayo Vallecano held Atletico to a 1-1 draw in the first leg. But Atletico won Thursday’s second leg match 3-0 to advance with a 4-1 aggregate score, reports Efe.

Rayo got off to a bright start on Thursday and were still in the match at the half-hour mark, minutes before Angel Correa put Atletico 1-0 up with a powerful shot from outside the area that bounced off the crossbar and into the net.

Though ahead, an anxious Atletico continued to press for an insurance goal and after Jackson Martinez failed to convert on multiple chances, coach Diego Simeone turned to top striker Antoine Griezmann, who scored in the 79th minute and again in the final minute of regulation to seal the 4-1 aggregate win.

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Valencia entered Thursday’s away clash with Granada up 4-0 after the first leg and won the second leg 3-0 to move ahead with a 7-0 aggregate score.

Visiting coach Gary Neville named an 11 that included two players from Valencia’s youth squad. Granada – sitting just two points above the drop zone in La Liga – also opted to rest some of its starters.

The home side pressed hard for the early goal that represented their only chance of making it a contest, but Valencia goalkeeper Matthew Ryan made impressive stops on Youssef El Arabi and Isaac Success.

Valencia gradually worked their way into the game, drawing blood in the 42nd minute thanks to a header from Zahibo following a corner kick.

Granada lost heart after the goal and the second half belonged to Valencia, who boosted the aggregate to 7-0 with goals from Paco Alcacer in the 63rd minute and Piatti, on a penalty, 20 minutes later.

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Atletico and Valencia join Mirandes, Sevilla, Celta, Athletic, Barcelona and Las Palmas in the quarter-finals.

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