Valencia, Rayo Vallecano reach Copa del Rey semis
Sports Desk, Feb 2 (EFE).- Valencia edged Cadiz 2-1 and Rayo Vallecano prevailed 1-0 over Mallorca on Wednesday to book spots in the final four of the Copa del Rey.
While Valencia are headed to the semifinals for the 35th time, Rayo have only gotten this far in the tournament once before, in 1982.
Valencia started brightly against Cadiz, but the visitors improved and looked to be holding their own until the 23rd minute, when Hugo Duro beat defender Juan Cala before passing to Gonçalo Guedes, who put the home side up with his ninth goal of the season.
Cadiz turned up the intensity in the second half and won a penalty in the 53rd minute. Lucas Perez converted from the spot to level the contest at 1-1.
With 11 minutes left in regulation, Duro rose to the occasion again, scoring off a Carlos Soler corner to restore the advantage for Valencia.
Cadiz’s hopes for a comeback suffered a blow in the 84th minute when Cala was sent off after picking up a second yellow card and Valencia can continue their pursuit of a ninth Copa del Rey title.
Earlier Wednesday in Madrid, Rayo supporters were in a celebratory mood before the start as their club was participating in the Copa quarterfinals for the first time in two decades.
The Rayo players also brought the energy, but Mallorca survived the opening onslaught and even created some chances at the other end.
Both teams slowed down as the first half entered the final stretch and Mallorca might have reached the break without conceding if Franco Russo didn’t foul Alvaro Garcia in the area.
Rayo captain Oscar Trejo made no mistake with his penalty and the home side went ahead 1-0.
Failing to extend the lead in the second half despite their superiority, Rayo experienced some tense moments in stoppage time thanks to Mallorca’s Randy Nteka, whose potential equalizer hit the post. EFE cta-dr/dr