season continued when they thrashed second-division Alcorcon 4-0
on Wednesday to secure a 5-2 aggregate victory and advance to
the King's Cup quarter-finals for the first time in more than 70
One of the poorest teams in the Spanish top flight and
relying on one of the oldest squads, Levante are a surprising
fourth in La Liga and briefly topped the standings for the first
time in their history in October.
Wednesday's resounding cup win set up a last-eight clash
with their more illustrious city neighbours Valencia.
The 2008 winners lost 2-1 at Sevilla, the 2010 champions, in
their last-16 second leg at the Sanchez Pizjuan but went through
on the away goals rule after Valencia won last week's first leg
at the Mestalla 1-0.
"Our priority is the league but we are going to try to
compete in the cup too," Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martinez in
his first top-flight coaching job, told a news conference.
"If we get through the next round we'll be very pleased and
hopefully we can go far, although it's going to be very tough."
Jose Barkero set Levante on their way in the 23rd minute at
their Ciutat de Valencia stadium, before Roger Marti and Vicente
Iborra made it 3-0 with goals either side of the break.
Ruben Suarez saved the best until last when he whipped a
stunning free-kick into the top corner from 30 metres for the
home side's fourth 24 minutes from time.
On the other side of the draw, Espanyol, the team who
eliminated Levante in the last eight in 1941, were flirting with
elimination in their second leg at home to second-division
Cordoba before Alvaro Vazquez completed his hat-trick in the
88th minute to send the Barcelona-based club through 5-4 on
Vazquez netted a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw against
Barcelona in La Liga on Sunday and put Espanyol 2-0 up by the
20th minute before Didac Vila added a third in the 35th.
Cordoba battled back to 3-2 with goals from Alberto Aguilar
and Pepe Diaz but Vazquez ended the Andalusian club's hopes when
he lifted the ball over the Cordoba keeper and into the net to
send the 2006 winners through.
Espanyol will play third-tier Mirandes in the last eight
after the Burgos-based club pulled off an upset at Racing
Santander on Tuesday when they drew 1-1 at the Sardinero after
winning last week's first leg 2-0.
In-form France striker Karim Benzema came off the bench to
score the only goal as holders Real Madrid won 1-0 in their
second leg at Malaga on Tuesday for a 4-2 aggregate success.
Jose Mourinho's side will play their great rivals Barcelona,
the team they beat 1-0 in last year's final, in the quarters as
long as Barca can defend a 4-0 lead at Osasuna on Thursday.
Real Mallorca overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit by
thrashing visiting Real Sociedad 6-1 on Tuesday and will play
the winners of the tie between Athletic Bilbao and third-tier
Albacete in the last eight.
Bilbao have home advantage for Thursday's return game after
last week's first leg ended 0-0.
The quarter-final first legs are next week and the return
legs are the following week.
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