Real Betis became the latest top-tier casualty in the Copa del Rey this week, failing to advance to the last 16 after a 5-3 loss to second-division club Cadiz on Thursday. Betis was eliminated 6-5 on aggregate, joining Malaga, Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao as top-flight teams eliminated by lower-tier opponents in the Round of 32. It was a thrilling match at Benito Villamarin Stadium in Seville, with both teams pressing forward from the start.
Cadiz was winning 3-2 by the 26th minute, and 4-2 before halftime. Betis moved closer on the scoreboard midway through the second half, but Cadiz added another goal to safeguard its qualification. “We scored early and kept believing in ourselves,” said Cadiz forward Dani Romera, who scored two first-half goals. “We showed that we are a great team.”
Cadiz is in fourth place in the second-division standings, three points off the lead. “We can’t allow something like this to happen when playing at home and against a team from a lower division,” said Betis midfielder Cristian Tello, who also scored twice. Fans loudly jeered Betis after the final whistle. The team is winless in five matches in all competitions. It hadn’t won since the 2-1 first-leg result at Cadiz.
Three-time defending champion Barcelona and Atletico Madrid went through to the last 16 on Wednesday, a day after Real Madrid advanced.
VILLARREAL STAYS ALIVE
Forward Cedric Bakambu scored a goal in each half as Villarreal defeated third-division team Ponferradina 3-0 to advance 3-1 on aggregate. Bakambu put Villarreal ahead in the 47th, and added a second goal in the 62nd. Carlos Bacca sealed victory in the 64th. “We were in control from the first minute,” Villarreal coach Javi Calleja said. “We had great chances in the first half but couldn’t capitalize on them. Bakambu’s goal opened things up for us.”
Bakambu has been decisive for Villarreal this season. The French striker has scored five goals in his last three games and is the team’s leading scorer in the Spanish league with nine goals, three fewer than league-leader Lionel Messi after 13 rounds. Goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo returned for Villarreal nearly nine months after sustaining a serious knee injury.
Santi Mina scored a goal in each half as Valencia comfortably defeated second-division team Zaragoza 4-1 to advance 6-1 on aggregate. Ruben Vezo and Robert Ibanez, returning from a long injury layoff, also scored for Valencia, which remains unbeaten in 15 matches in all competitions this season. Zaragoza, a six-time Copa del Rey winner, scored late with Jorge Pombo.
Espanyol defeated second-division team Tenerife 3-2 to advance after a scoreless draw in the first leg. Tenerife went ahead with a goal by Bryan Acosta only 10 minutes into the match, but the hosts rallied to victory with the next three goals. The first came after a mistake by match officials led by referee Iglesias Villanueva, with Espanyol awarded a penalty even though the ball touched the hand of a Tenerife defender outside the area. Villanueva last weekend did not see that a shot by Lionel Messi crossed the goal line in Barcelona’s match against Valencia in the Spanish league.
ALAVES MOVES ON
Munir El Haddadi scored a pair of goals and Bojan Krkic added another as Alaves routed fellow first-division club Getafe 3-0 to advance 4-0 on aggregate. It was Alaves’ first match since firing Italian coach Gianni de Biasi after poor results in the Spanish league.
Assistant coach Javier Cabello was the team’s interim coach. Getafe had beaten Alaves 4-1 in the Spanish league two weeks ago.