Espanyol in Copa del Rey quarter-finals

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Barcelona, Jan 18 (IANS) RCD Espanyol defeated Villarreal 3-1 in the second leg of their Copa del Rey knockout stage tie to advance to the quarter-finals 5-3 on aggregate.

In the wake of the 2-2 draw in the first leg in Villarreal, Espanyol coach Joan Francesc Ferrer promised that his team would be playing for the win from the opening whistle at RCDE stadium in Barcelona, reports Efe.

The hosts were dominant in the opening minutes here on Thursday, yet Villarreal worked their way into the contest.

While both teams showed ambition, Espanyol were the more determined and their intensity bore fruit in the 32nd minute, when Villarreal’s Pepe Castaño dragged down Borja Iglesias in the area and the referee awarded a penalty.

Pablo Piatti converted to put Espanyol up 1-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate.

The supporters at the RCDE were still celebrating the goal when Villarreal defender Miguel Layun obstructed Javi Puado and the referee again pointed to the spot.

This time, Iglesias, the club’s leading scorer, took the shot and increased Espanyol’s advantage to two goals.

Samu Chukwueze pulled back a goal for Villarreal in the 42nd minute and the visitors created some nervous moments for the home side in the second half, including a direct free kick by Layun that hit the post.

But Iglesias — celebrating his 26th birthday — settled the question in the 73rd minute with his second goal of the night.

–IANS

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