Sunday, January 20, 2019 | ePaper
Sevilla beat Leganes 2-0, return to Copa del Rey final
Sevilla has ended Leganes' surprising run in the Copa del Rey.
Sevilla scored early and late through Joaquin Correa and Franco Vazquez to defeat the Madrid club 2-0 on Wednesday, advancing to its second Copa final in three seasons with a 3-1 aggregate score.
Leganes, based just south of the capital, eliminated Real Madrid in the quarterfinals and Villarreal in the last 16.
Sevilla, a five-time Copa winner, will face either Barcelona or Valencia, who play on Thursday. Three-time champion Barcelona, which beat Sevilla in the 2016 final, won the first match against Valencia 1-0 at Camp Nou Stadium.
The final is April 21.
"We've reached one of our goals for this season," Sevilla defender Gabriel Mercado said. "We still haven't achieved anything, but this was an important goal for us. The club has been making a great effort to sign new players and there are high expectations."
Sevilla will be playing in its 17th final in 12 years, four of them in the Copa del Rey.
It was an even match from the start at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium in Seville, with Leganes not letting Sevilla take full control of the game.
Correa put the hosts ahead in 15th minute after Colombian forward Luis Muriel sped past a defender inside the area and passed the ball back for an easy tap-in by the Argentine midfielder. Muriel had scored Sevilla's goal in the first leg.
Leganes wasn't able to threaten much but it stayed in contention until Vazquez sealed the victory on a late breakaway with a left-foot shot into the top corner.
Leganes has one of the smallest budgets in La Liga and is only in its second season in the first division. It had never made it to the quarterfinals of the Copa in the team's 89-year history.
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy but we gave our best," Leganes coach Asier Garitano said. "We tried everything but they were better than us tonight. We will take this as a growing experience."
Sevilla endured ups-and-downs since the arrival of Italian coach Vincenzo Montella during the winter break to replace Eduardo Berizzo after a series of disappointing results that dropped the club in the Spanish league standings.
"This is amazing, after everything we went through in recent months," Correa said. "Not a lot of people gave us credit but now we are in the Copa final."