USMNT starter Yunus Musah was on the scoreboard for Valencia in record time in to help them advance on the Copa del Rey, while Shaq Moore and Tenerife saw their run come to an end against a tough La Liga 2 promotion rival.
CD Arenteiro O Carballino 1 – 3 FC Valencia
Yunus Musah once again was a Copa del Rey hero for Valencia, scoring their first goal within seconds of the opening whistle, as they were, in the end, forced to work harder than expected for their victory over fourth-tier Arenteiro.
Musah lined up on the right side of a four-man midfield for Valencia, in a mixed starting eleven consisting of some standard starers from their La Liga campaign and several usual bench options.
The audience barely had any time to take their seats and a first sip of beer when a smart play from the American put his team ahead after only 30 seconds. Left back José Gayà sent in a cross from the left side, which somehow managed to slip through the Arenteiro to Musah who had wandered in directly in front of goal at the near post. Facing the wrong way to attempt a strike a goal, Musah instead opted for a right-footed flick of the back-heel, that slid in past the helpless keeper for the 1-0 lead.
Valencia looked well on their way to the expected blow-out, however were dealt a shock when their hosts equalized eight minutes later; forward Joni was sent through behind the sleeping Valencia defense on the left, and put away his shot to the far post past keeper Jaume Domenech for 1-1.
This goal turned the tide of the game; while Valenca were clearly the aggressors and controlling the overall flow, the hosts were resilient in the defense, and ended up holding on steadfast to send the game into overtime.
By then, Musah had left the game in favor of midfield part-timer Jason, after putting in a solid shift, although surely disappointed that his early goal hadn’t been the start of an offensive avalanche for his team.
In the end, Valencia was able to comfortably secure the victory with a pair of goals in the extra 30 minutes.
For the first, a corner from the right was allowed to eventually land in space near the far post, where Hugo Guillamo knocked it over the line with his back-heel between the legs of an Arenteiro defender for the 99th-minute winner, perhaps in homage to Musah’s opener.
Then in the 109th minute, they added an insurance goal, this time with Manu Vallejo streaking in on a counter, and making his low shot from the center of the area look like easy work to secure the final 3-1 scoreline.
Valencia await the result of Friday’s draw for the Round of 32, where they will likely visit another team in a lower division in the early-January match. Meanwhile, they are back in league action on Monday for their penultimate game of 2021, a visit to Levante.
CD Tenerife 2 – 1 SD Eibar
Shaq Moore started and went the distance for Tenerife in their tough Copa del Rey match against Eibar on Wednesday evening, however the team fell to their fellow La Liga 2 foes to crash out of the competition.
For the second consecutive game, Moore lined up on the right side of Tenerife’s defense from the get-go, with the usual starter so far this season, Jeremy Mellot, relegated to the bench, and eventually subbing in on the left.
Despite playing on their home turf, Tenerife were almost immediately on the back foot against their division foes, Eibar, as they took the lead inside of 12 minutes.
Eibar winger Yanis Rahmani beat Moore in a battle for possession on a long ball hit to left flank, and cut in along the touchline before striking a low cross across the face of goal. Quique was lurking at the far post, and easily struck the ball into the open net for the 1-0 advantage.
Tenerife gave themselves a momentary ray of hope with what they thought was a second-half equalizer; midfielder Michel delivered a long free kick into the box, that Emmanuel Apeh headed into the right side of goal, past the diving save attempt by Ander Cantero. However the goal was called back for offside.
They did, however, pull even with 16 minutes remaining in regulation, once again with set piece specialist Michel whipping in a free kick from the left side, which Sergio Gonzalez headed in to bring the score to 1-1.
However, their hopes of advancing to the third round were dashed less than ten minutes later in rather spectacular fashion. Eibar midfielder Edu Exposito teed up a free kick from next to the sideline on the left. Instead of hitting the ball into the line of his attacking teammates, he targeted the far post, with his strike flummoxing teammates and opponents alike as it flew into the netting for the winner.
Tenerife return their attention to league action, with one more game left before the short holiday break, a visit to Real Zaragoza on Sunday afternoon.
Matt Miazga is still isolated due to a positive Covid test, and did not participate on Tuesday as Alaves were shockingly knocked out of the Copa del Rey at the hands of third-tier Linares Deportivo. It’s unclear whether the American will be available on Saturday for their visit to Rayo Vallecano in La Liga action.
Matthew Hoppe is still injured, and watched Mallorca’s 6-0 beatdown of lower division UD Llanera on Thursday evening.