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Lazio races into Italian Cup semis

LAZIO advanced to the Italian Cup semifinals, coming back to beat Torino 3-1 on Thursday.

Cesare Natali opened the scoring for Torino on the half hour. Lazio goalkeeper Fernando Muslera could only push Alessandro Rosina's cross into the path of Natali, who tapped it in.

Lazio equalized four minutes after the break through Goran Pandev after a clever pass by Stefano Mauri.

Mauri then put Lazio in the lead six minutes later, shooting from outside the area after the Torino defense failed to adequately clear the ball.

Lazio captain Tommaso Rocchi made it 3-1 in injury time, shooting low from the edge of the penalty area after being set up by Pandev.

Lazio will play the winner of the Napoli and Juventus quarterfinal on February 4. The two-leg semifinals will be played on March 4 and April 22.

In Spain, Fernando Llorente missed a first-half penalty as Sporting Gijon left Athletic Bilbao with a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal.

Athletic striker Llorente sent his 28th-minute spot kick over the top right corner of the goal, squandering a chance for the 23-time champion to take an advantage in the two-leg tie.

Sporting garnered the momentum at San Mames Stadium after the miss, but couldn't score an away goal as Athletic goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz made several stops to keep it even on aggregate going into next week's return leg at Sporting.

"It was very fair, a just result," Sporting coach Manuel Preciado said. "It's an open tie and this worked out great for us. Home field is going to be a big factor."

Alhassane Keita scored in the 65th minute as Mallorca pulled out a 1-0 win over Real Betis in the final last-eight match.

The Guinea striker scored with a low-angled shot from the right as Mallorca stayed unbeaten in five cup matches, while it languishes in 19th and the drop zone in the league.

Barcelona was held to a 0-0 at Espanyol on Wednesday, but defending champion Valencia struck twice late to take its first-leg match against 2007 winner Sevilla 3-2.


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