Luca de la Torre’s positive performance in his first start for Celta Vigo was in vain as they were eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Espanyol, while Yunus Musah was a sub for Valencia as they cruised past La Nucía.
Espanyol 3 – 1 Celta Vigo (aet)
Luca de la Torre earned his first start in official competition with Celta Vigo on Tuesday night, playing the full 90 minutes of regulation as they were knocked out of the Copa del Rey in overtime by hosts Espanyol.
Espanyol youngster Luca Koleosho was not included in the gameday squad for the hosts.
While somewhat limited on the ball, the USMNT player made the most of his 90 minutes on the field, completing 89% of his 28 passes amidst 48 touches, creating three chances for teammates, beating opponents on the dribble twice in two attempts, winning eight of 12 duels, and drawing a pair of fouls.
The visitors were on the front foot in the early-going, with de la Torre setting up Carles Pérez for an attempt in the tenth minute, then finding Gabri Veiga with a cross five minutes later for a near-miss.
However, seconds later Celta got onto the scoreboard, as Óscar Rodríguez found Goncalo Paciencia with space on the right side of the area for a low shot just beyond Joan Garcia’s grasp for the 1-0 lead.
Despite the early setback, Espanyol held on and equalized in the 53rd minute, after Nicolás Melamed’s cross from the left side was smashed in at the near post with a powerful header from Javier Puado.
The American did his best to help his team break the deadlock, setting up Gonçalo Paciência three minutes before the hour for an attempt from the left that sailed high, however the game would move into overtime.
Celta head coach Carlos Carvalhal opted to pull de la Torre in favor of the more attack-oriented Williot Swedberg for the overtime period, but the hosts easily dominated the extra 30 minutes.
In the 97th minute, Aleix Vidal did well to draw the attention of Celta keeper Agustin Marchesin and three defenders to his side before laying it off to Sergi Darder for an easy-tap in and the 2-1 lead.
Then in the 112th minute, Marchesin was given his marching orders after receiving a second yellow for a rough tackle far outside of his area, forcing Carvalhal to make do with an outfield player as keeper for the final minutes.
This allowed Nico Ribaudo to launch a thunderous 25-yard shot that found its way into the Celta net for the final 3-1 win, an impressive blast to be sure, but likely one that a trained keeper would have saved.
Having been eliminated from the competition, Celta can now focus on their struggling league campaign. They will be back in action on Friday night against Elche.
La Nucía 0 – 3 Valencia
Yunus Musah played the final 20 minutes of Valencia’s Copa del Rey matchup against La Nucía on Tuesday, as the team easily advanced to the next round against their third-division hosts.
Justin Kluviert gave Valencia the early lead after less than three minutes, powering past several defenders on a run into the left side of the area, before lifting his shot from close range above the keeper’s reach.
Just past the half-hour, doubled the advantage, lunging in foot-first to redirect in a shot cross from Jesús Vázquez.
Musah entered the game in the 70th minute as a part of a double switch, and almost immediately Hugo Duro made it 3-0 with an off-balance strike from seven yards, to complete the resounding win.
Valencia now await their next opponent in Friday’s draw for the Round of 16. They are back in action later that evening in La Liga action with a home game against Cadiz.
Jonathan Gomez is not in the Real Sociedad squad for their visit to UD Logroñés on Wednesday evening.