Bilbao (Spain) : Athletic Club Bilbao continued their good form in the Copa del Rey knockout competition by qualifying for the quarterfinals with a 1-0 win at home to Espanyol. The win on Wednesday night means the team from the Basque Region have now reached the last eight of the tournament for four consecutive seasons.
Oscar de Marcos scored the only goal of the game in the 26th minute after the full-back ran onto a smart backheel from midfielder Oihan Sancet, who had been fed by an intelligent pass from the impressive Oier Zarraga.
Athletic completely dominated the first half, which was played almost entirely in the Espanyol half, with the visitors sitting deep with a five-man defense.
The second half saw visiting coach Diego Martinez make an attacking change, bringing on winger Aleix Vidal, but although Espanyol looked to push forward more, Athletic continued to control the majority of the ball.
The home side’s problem this season has been turning possession into clear chances, and that happened again after the break. The home side had 16 corners in the game but failed to trouble young Espanyol keeper Joan Garcia from any of them.
However, with central defenders Yeray Alvarez and Dani Vivian in excellent form, Espanyol never got a look in and ended the game without managing a single shot on target. Cup holders Betis were knocked out of the competition following a nerve-wracking penalty shootout at home to Osasuna after SeXin, reports Xinhua.
Betis looked to be on their way to the last eight after William Carvalho put them ahead in the 61st minute, but defender David Garcia kept Osasuna’s hopes alive with a last-minute equalizer.
Salaby put Betis back in front in the 12th minute of extra time, but Ruben Garcia’s strike at the start of the second period took the game to penalties. Last season’s beaten finalists Valencia enjoyed a comfortable evening away to second-division Sporting Gijon.
Edinson Cavani scored twice, and Justin Kluivert also netted to put Valencia 3-0 up before the break. Samuel Lino added a fourth midway through the second half to see Valencia through with no real problems.
Second-half goals from Alvaro Morata and Marcos Llorente booked Atletico Madrid’s place in the quarterfinals as they won 2-0 away to second-division Levante.