Mirandes

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Odegaard shines again as Real Sociedad take 1st leg lead

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It took a long while, but Martin Odegaard is delivering the goods.

The teen phenom whose recruitment carried a captive audience five years ago is now a 21-year-old proven playmaker in two leagues.

Odegaard scored again Thursday as Real Sociedad took a Copa Del Rey semifinal first-leg lead with a 2-1 win over second-tier Mirandes.

The second leg is March 5 in Castile and León, where Mirandes looks to make history as a Copa del Rey finalist from outside La Liga.

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Mikel Oyarzabal gave Real Sociedad a ninth-minute lead on Thursday before Matheus Aias leveled the score for Cinderella in the 39th. Odegaard found the match-winner in the 42nd.

That gives the Real Madrid loanee three goals and three assists in four tournament matches for the Txuri-urdinak.

Odegaard had already captured the attention of some of the world’s biggest clubs when he was called up by Norway at age 15. Barcelona was linked, and the kid said he loved Liverpool on a visit that came shortly after he hit up Old Trafford.

He eventually chose Real Madrid, debuting with the first team in 2014/15 but only making one more senior appearance in 2016/17 before heading on loan to Heerenveen in the Netherlands.

Odegaard showed glimpses of class there, but really took off with 11 goals and 12 assists for Vitesse Arnhem last season.

Now he has Real Sociedad on the brink of a first Copa del Rey final since 1988, collecting seven goals and eight assists in 24 matches.

Second-tier Mirandes into Copa semis after ousting Villarreal

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MADRID — Small second-division club Mirandes pulled off another upset in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, eliminating Villarreal 4-2 to reach the competition’s semifinals for the second time.

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The club from Miranda de Ebro, a city of about 35,000 people in northern Spain, had stunned two other first-division clubs in previous rounds – five-time champion Sevilla in the last 16 and Celta Vigo in the round of 32.

“Hi Spain, hi world,” the club posted on Twitter. “We keep making history.”

Players stayed on the field for several minutes after the match to celebrate and chant with the fans. The stadium’s announcer had asked the crowd not to invade the field after the final whistle.

Mirandes played in the Copa semifinals in 2011-12, losing to Athletic Bilbao. It made it to the competition’s quarterfinals in 2015-16.

The club has never played in Spain’s first division. It is in 11th place in the 22-team second-tier standings.

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Villarreal, seventh in the first division, was trying to reach the Copa semifinals for the first time since 2015, when it lost to eventual champion Barcelona. It hadn’t made it to the last eight since that season.

“It is my worst defeat with Villarreal,” coach Javier Calleja said. “We came into the match with a lot of confidence. We leave very upset. We have to congratulate Mirandes for what it has been able to achieve. “

Matheus Aias opened the scoring for Mirandes in the 17th minute after getting past a defender outside the area and another inside the box. The visitors equalized less than 15 minutes later with a well-struck free kick by Javier Ontiveros.

Mirandes retook the lead with Martin Merquelanz converting a penalty awarded by video review in first-half stoppage time, and Santi Cazorla evened the match with another penalty in the 56th.

The hosts went ahead again two minutes later. Odei Onaindia, whose handball prompted the penalty for Villarreal, scored with a close-range touch after the visitors failed to clear a cross by the far post.

Antonio Sanchez sealed the victory after a breakaway in stoppage time.

“We weren’t going to come here and win the match just because we are in the first division and they are in the second,” Villarreal midfielder Vicente Iborra said. “We are upset because we wasted a great opportunity to be in the semifinals.”

Mirandes was the only lower-division club still alive entering the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey.