Atletico Madrid secures spot in round of 16 of Copa del Rey
MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid defeated third-tier team Reus 1-0 on Thursday, comfortably advancing to the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey 3-1 on aggregate.
Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey scored the winner in the 53rd minute, firing home a low shot from outside the area after a cross was partially cleared by the defense.
“We reached our goal,” Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya said. “We knew it was going to be difficult, we knew that they would be motivated. But we got the win and advanced to the next round, which was the most important thing.”
The victory was Atletico’s ninth in a row in all competitions and kept the club unbeaten in 15 matches.
“We tried to keep the match even,” Reus goalkeeper Edgar Badia said. “But a team with such great quality as Atletico Madrid will always have good chances to score.”
Coach Diego Simeone rested several regular starters ahead of Sunday’s match at Malaga in the Spanish league.
Atletico is level on 35 points at the top of the standings with Barcelona, which is playing at the Club World Cup in Japan this weekend.
Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion and Fernando Torres were among the starters at the Vicente Calderon Stadium on Thursday. Torres again failed in his attempt to score his 100th goal with Atletico.
In other Copa del Rey fixtures, Celta Vigo defeated visiting Almeria 1-0 thanks to a 41st-minute goal by Danish midfielder Daniel Wass, advancing 4-1 on aggregate. Villarreal beat second-division Huesca 2-0 for a 4-3 win on aggregate, while Granada defeated Leganes 1-0 to advance on away goals after finishing 2-2 over two legs.
A draw will determine the matchups in the round of 16. The other teams that have already advanced are Barcelona, Deportivo La Coruna, Real Betis, Espanyol, Sevilla, Eibar, Rayo Vallecano, Athletic Bilbao, Las Palmas, Cadiz, Gary Neville’s Valencia and second-division club Mirandes.
Real Madrid was eliminated from the competition after fielding an illegible player in a 3-1 first leg win over Cadiz.
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