Atlético Madrid’s inability to convert set pieces cost them on Saturday. Fortunately for the defending Cope del Rey champions, that shortcoming didn’t carry over into today’s match against Valencia. With Diego Godín and Raúl García converting second half corner kicks, Atleti moved into Copa’s quarterfinals, their 2-1 victory at the Vicente Calderon eliminating Los Che with a 3-1 aggregate result.
Valencia played Atlético to a 1-1 at the Mestalla on Jan. 7, with Helder Postiga’s 93rd minute goal rewarding a home side that newly out-playing Diego Simeone’s team in leg one. On Tuesday’s season leg, the underdogs continued giving the Colchoneros problems, leaving the sides even at halftime in Madrid.
Six minutes into the second half, however, Gabi’s corner built on Atlético’s away goals advantage. Finding Godín elevating over his man at the far post, the Atleti midfielder recorded his first of two assists on the night, allowing the Uruguayan defender to head into an empty net after Vicente Guaita had run under the ball.
In the 89th minute, García provided Atlético’s insurance. Building on his goal at the Mestalla, the Atlético attacker headed down and past Guaita for his second of the tie, giving Atlético a two-goal edge minutes before full-time.
The win pushes the competition’s holders into the final eight, where they await the winner of Athletic Bilbao’s matchup with Real Betis. The Seville club, lasting La Liga, carries a 1-0 into Basque country on Wednesday, hoping to complete an upset of a club fighting for a Champions League spot.
In the Tuesday’s other Copa match, third-tier Racing Santander got second half goals from Mariano and Ruben Duran to upset Primera División side Almería. The Cantabria-based club moves on to face the winner of Real Sociedad and Villarreal, the two La Liga European contenders even (0-0) after leg one in San Sebastian.
Atlético Madrid 2-0 (3-1) Valencia
Racind Santander 2-0 (3-1) Almería
Levante 0-0 Rayo Vallecano
Getafe 0-4 Barcelona
Villarreal 0-0 Real Sociedad
Espanyol 0-1 Alcorcón
Osasuna 0-2 Real Madrid
Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Real Betis