Gary Neville claimed his first victory as a head coach at the third attempt as Valencia eased into the last 16 of the Copa del Rey with a 2-0 win over Barakaldo on Wednesday.
Already leading 3-1 from the first leg against the Basque side from the third tier of Spanish soccer, Santi Mina ensured there was to be no unwanted shocks for Neville when he headed home just his second goal for the club after eight minutes.
Neville handed Alvaro Negredo his first start since early October after the former Manchester City striker fell out of favor under previous coach Nuno Espirito Santo and then suffered appendicitis. However, the Spanish international’s eye for goal looks to have returned as he slotted home his first strike since August just after the half hour mark.
Elsewhere, last season’s beaten finalists Athletic Bilbao cruised through with a 6-0 thrashing of lower league Linense to seal an 8-0 aggregate win. Ernesto Valverde named a surprisingly strong side and was rewarded with second-half goals from Javier Eraso, Borja Etxeita, Kike Sola, Raul Garcia and Mikel Rico adding to Oscar de Marcos’s early opener.
Eibar produced a stunning fightback from a 3-0 first leg deficit to beat 10-man Ponferradina 4-0 to progress.
Second division Mirandes produced the only upset of the round so far with a 1-0 win at La Liga strugglers Malaga to back up their 2-1 first leg lead.
In the ties between two top flight teams, Lass Bangoura’s strike was enough to seal Rayo Vallecano’s place in the last 16 on away goals despite a 3-1 defeat at Getafe. And Las Palmas squeezed past Real Sociedad 3-2 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw at Anoeta.
Those sides join holders Barcelona, Sevilla, Espanyol, Real Betis, Deportivo La Coruna and Cadiz, who were gifted their place in the next round when Real Madrid were thrown out of the competition for fielding an ineligible player, in Friday’s draw for the last 16.
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