Yunus Musah and Valencia demolished their second-division foes Gijon to land their spot in the final eight, while Luca Koleosho had his first appearance for Espanyol in their Copa loss at Athletic Bilbao.
Sporting Gijon 0 – 4 Valencia
Yunus Musah started in Valencia’s central midfield, and helped the team hold down the fort in a dominant victory over Sporting Gijon to reach the Copa del Rey quarterfinal.
The American lined up in the heart of Gennaro Gattuso’s midfield alongside André Almeida, and put in a strong overall performance to help keep their hosts off the board.
In 67 minutes of play, he completed 89% of his 36 passes, had 67 total touches, won his only tackle and one of his two attempted dribbles, drew one foul, had a pair of clearances, four recoveries and was six for eight on duels.
Valencia put their stamp on the game after ten minutes, when Justin Kluivert’s darting run up the middle led to the ball taking several bounces off of surprised defenders before landing in front of Édinson Cavani for a low finish that took a slight deflection off of the opposing keeper.
Just 11 minutes later, Kluivert was on the scoreboard when he was sprung free by a through-ball from André Almeida in his own half of the field, and ran the distance before chipping his shot past the keeper to the far side of goal.
With six minutes remaining in the half, Cavani added a third for the visitors in style. Musah played a short through ball under pressure to Samuel Lino, who with space to run, advanced deep into Gijon territory before sliding the ball to Cavani on the right.
The Uruguayan striker took a few steps into the area, made a cut-back to create space and targeted the far side of goal for his second of the night.
Valencia then added a fourth and final goal in the 64th minute on the counter, which ended with Hugo Duro crossing to Lino for a one-touch finish into the open net.
Moments later, Musah exited in favor of Ilaix Moriba, and Valencia had no problems to hold their advantage through the final whistle.
Valencia will find out their quarterfinal opponent in Friday’s draw, with the game already set to take place in the midweek next week. Beforehand, they host 13th-place Almeria on Monday.
Athletic Bilbao 1 – 0 Espanyol
Luca Koleosho made a surprise appearance for Espanyol on Wednesday night, playing the final 20+ minutes for the visitors as they were narrowly knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao.
Despite the close result on the scoreboard, the hosts held close to two-thirds of possession and outshot their visitors by a 24-4 margin. They were duly rewarded for their efforts when when Oscar de Marcos smashed Oihan Sancet’s back-heel into the Espanyol goal.
In the 69th minute, Koleosho was called upon by head coach Diego Martinez for his first appearance with the first team since August. In his 21 minutes of play, he had little influence, making just six ball contacts, completing one of three passing attempts, winning one of his three duels and losing his only attempted tackle.
Now knocked out of the competition, Espanyol can now focus on their La Liga campaign, where they are in the thick of the race to avoid relegation. They next host sixth-place Real Betis on Saturday.
Jonathan Gomez was not included in Real Sociedad’s squad for a 1-0 win over Mallorca on Tuesday booked their place in the quarterfinal. Gomez was called up for USMNT duty on Wednesday, and will miss any action with Sociedad’s first or second team while his stateside.