Atletico and Valencia cruise into Copa del Rey quarterfinals
By TALES AZZONI
Jan. 09, 2018
MADRID (AP) — Victor "Vitolo" Machin and Luciano Vietto scored on their starting debuts as Atletico Madrid and Valencia cruised into the Copa del Rey quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Vietto scored three times — including one from near midfield — to help Valencia rout Las Palmas 4-0 and advance 5-1 on aggregate. Vitolo scored his first goal for Atletico as it defeated third-division team Lleida 3-0 and advanced 7-0 on aggregate.
Yannick Carrasco and Kevin Gameiro also got on the scoresheet for Atletico, which was without most of its regular starters.
Vitolo was making his second appearance for Atletico since returning from a loan to Las Palmas. He was signed by Atletico last offseason but couldn't play until now because the Spanish club was temporarily banned by FIFA from registering new players.
"It was moving," Vitolo said. "I couldn't have asked for more in my debut in front of our fans."
Carrasco opened the scoring in the second half after an assist by Diego Costa, and Gameiro and Vitolo added on toward the end. Vitolo's maiden goal came after a perfect long pass by Fernando Torres.
Costa played because he was suspended only in the Spanish league after being red-carded for celebrating a goal too close to the fans last weekend.
Atletico has conceded only once in its last six matches in all competitions.
Recently arrived on a loan from Atletico, Vietto debuted as a starter for Valencia after being a late substitute against Girona in the Spanish league last weekend.
The Argentine player scored once in the first half and twice in the second, with his last goal a shot from more than 40 meters after recovering a ball just ahead of the midfield circle and seeing the goalkeeper out of position.
"It's hard to explain, I hadn't scored in nearly a year and then I score three times," Vietto said. "Hopefully I will remain with this kind of confidence."
Vietto had the best season of his career with Villarreal in 2014-15, scoring 20, but since then he has disappointed in two stints at Atletico and on loan at Sevilla.
Nemanja Maksimovic scored Valencia's other goal at Mestalla Stadium.
More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga
Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni