Seville, Jan 22 (IANS) Sevilla scored twice in the second half to prevail 3-1 over Levante and claim a spot in the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey.
While LaLiga coaches will sometimes rest key starters in cup matches, Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui on Tuesday evening fielded a side worthy of the fourth-ranked team in the first division, reports Efe news.
His counterpart with 12th-place Levante, Paco Lopez, faced a more difficult challenge in assembling a starting 11, with two players serving suspensions and five others sidelined by injury.
The hosts started aggressively in front of 28,000 people at Seville’s Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium and Manuel “Nolito” Agudo had a great chance in the opening minutes.
Midfielder Fernando Reges put Sevilla ahead in the 13th minute and the home side seemed likely to increase that lead in short order, yet the next goal would belong to Levante, as Oscar Duarte headed-in a Ruben Rochina free kick in the 31st minute.
The teams went to the dressing rooms level at 1-1, but Lucas Ocampos regained the lead for Sevilla just a minute into the second half, exploiting a poor clearance by the Levante defence to deliver a shot that left keeper Aitor Fernandez with no chance.
Rochina had a chance to bring Levante back into the contest in the 67th minute, only to lose the 1v1 with Sevilla keeper Tomas Vaclik.
The home supporters remained on edge until Oliver Torres added an insurance goal in the 78th minute with an assist from Luuk de Jong.
Mallorca, who are just two spots above the drop zone in LaLiga, saw their Copa del Rey campaign end Tuesday with a 3-1 loss to second-division side Zaragoza.
LaLiga club Osasuna fell behind 2-0 at home to a team from the third division, Recreativo Huelva, but came back to win in extra time.