Valencia beat Sevilla; Barcelona reserves held by Espanyol

January 22nd, 2009 - 2:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Jan 22 (DPA) The quarter-finals of the Spanish King’s Cup produced two contrasting first-leg clashes, an epic 3-2 win for Valencia over Sevilla, followed by a drab goalless draw between crosstown rivals Espanyol and Barcelona.Holders Valencia Wednesday came from 2-1 down to score a dramatic win, thanks to late goals from Ruben Baraja and Juan Mata.

Valencia had taken a sixth-minute lead through David Villa, taking advantage of a schoolboy mistake from Adriano.

But 10 minutes later Villa limped off with a pulled muscle, and Valencia lost their rhythm.

Sevilla took control in the second half, and Luis Fabiano made it 1-1 with his head in the 53rd minute on a clever centre from Diego Capel.

Adriano made it 2-2 in the 68th minute, despite being around three metres offside.

Indignant Valencia came forward toward the end, determined to at least force a draw. Five minutes from time the ageless Ruben Baraja made it 2-2 with a low drive. Just two minutes, later Mata hit the winner - with the help of a wicked deflection.

“We showed real character,” said Baraja, “to come back so strongly at the end”.

The former Spain midfielder added that “their second goal was ridiculous, … so obviously offside”.

Later Wednesday, a reserve-packed Barcelona side were held to a dull 0-0 draw by troubled Espanyol.

It was a chilly night in the Montjuic Olympic Stadium, and neither side created clear chances, despite Xavi and Lionel Messi coming off the Barca bench toward the end.

It was a solid debut on the Espanyol bench for Mauricio Pochettino, who took over Tuesday from Mane.

The other quarter-final first legs will be played Thursday, with Betis taking on Mallorca and Athletic Bilbao facing Sporting Gijon.

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