Valencia held to 1-1 draw by Las Palmas in Copa quarters
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 22, 2016 10:15 AM
(AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)
TALES AZZONI, AP Sports Writer
MADRID (AP) — Valencia's Paco Alcacer scored a second-half equalizer to offset an own goal by French teammate Wilfried Zahibo in a 1-1 draw with Las Palmas in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey on Thursday.
The spot in the semifinals will be decided in the second leg next week in the Canary Islands.
In the other Copa del Rey match, Sevilla defeated second-division club Mirandes 2-0 in Seville.
Zahibo headed the ball into his own net while trying to intercept a free kick in the 38th minute. Alcacer equalized with a low shot from just outside the area in the 61st.
Gary Neville's Valencia is struggling in the Spanish league, but it had previously won four straight matches in the Copa del Rey, the only competition it has a real chance of winning this season. Las Palmas is 16th in the league.
"It was a complicated match, but this is a good result take to the Canary Islands," Las Palmas player Jose "Nili" Perdomo said.
Valencia is 11th in the Spanish league, where it's enduring a nine-game winless streak. The team is winless in six rounds since Neville took over as coach.
"We are doing everything we can to try to improve," Valencia defender Jose Luis Gaya said. "We enter the field knowing what we need to do, but things are not going our way."
Valencia dominated from the start and had most of the scoring chances at the Mestalla Stadium.
Alcacer and Brazilian forward Rodrigo had several opportunities in the first half but it was Las Palmas who got on the board first after Zahibo headed in the free kick taken by Jeronimo "Momo" Figueroa.
Fans were jeering loudly when Alcacer leveled with his cross shot past goalkeeper Raul Lizoain.
Sevilla defeated Mirandes with goals by Steven N'Zonzi in the 20th and Vitolo Machin in second-half injury time. Mirandes players claimed that both goals were offside.
The return match is next week in the northern city of Miranda de Ebro.
Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni