Celta ousts Real Madrid from Copa del Rey quarterfinals

::People’s Time Online::

Celta Vigo pulled off another major upset in the Copa del Rey, eliminating Real Madrid with a 2-2 home draw on Wednesday to reach the semifinals for the second straight season.

A year after ousting Atletico Madrid in the quarterfinals, Celta knocked Real Madrid out at the same stage with a 4-3 aggregate victory. It had stunned the Spanish powerhouse with 2-1 win in the first leg at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium last week.

The result dashed Madrid’s hopes of winning five titles this season. It had already won the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup, and remains in contention in the Champions League and the Spanish league.

“We played a good match but in the end it wasn’t possible to advance,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “We are disappointed, but we have to keep working and focus on the competitions we can still win.”

Celta broke the deadlock just before halftime at a packed Balaidos Stadium in Vigo with an own goal by Madrid defender Danilo, who had already been loudly criticized by fans because of a string of poor performances. The ball ricocheted off the legs of the Brazilian right back after a save by goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who twice hit the woodwork when the game was scoreless in the first half, equalized with a free kick from about 30 meters (yards) out in the 62nd minute. But Danish midfielder Daniel Wass restored Celta’s lead with a low shot from the edge of the area in the 85th.

Lucas Vazquez equalized again amid heavy rain with a header in the 90th, but Madrid failed to find a third goal to advance.

Madrid, seeking its first Copa title since 2014, had been disqualified in the opening round of last season’s competition after fielding an ineligible player.

Zidane’s team was without defender Marcelo and midfielder Luka Modric because of injuries sustained in a Spanish league match on Saturday.

Celta has never won the Copa del Rey and hasn’t made it to the final since 2001, when it lost to Real Zaragoza.

Two-time defending champion Barcelona will try to reach the semifinals for the seventh straight season on Thursday when it hosts Real Sociedad. The Catalan club won the first leg 1-0.

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EIBAR 2, ATLETICO MADRID 2

Atletico Madrid is back in the semifinals after being eliminated in the quarterfinals for the last two seasons, holding on for a draw at Eibar to advance 5-2 on aggregate.

Atletico took the lead with a header by Uruguay defender Jose Gimenez in the 49th minute, but the hosts rallied with goals by Sergi Enrich in the 73rd and Pedro Leon in the 80th. Enrich’s neat volley from inside the area was set up by Leon only a few seconds after both players had entered the match as second-half substitutes.

Juanfran Torres scoring Atletico’s second goal in the Basque Country with a lob over the goalkeeper in the 85th.

Atletico, which is trying to win the Copa del Rey for the first time since 2013, was eliminated by Celta Vigo in the quarterfinals last season, and by Barcelona at the same stage in the previous year.

Eibar was playing in the Copa quarterfinals for the first time.

On Tuesday, Alaves advanced 2-0 on aggregate by drawing second-division club Alcorcon at home, reaching the semifinals for the first time in 13 years.

 

People’s Time/MK

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