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Spain minnow enjoys Copa run

MINNOW Poli Ejido continues Copa del Rey run with 3-2 win over Espanyol

Third-division giant-killer Polideportivo El Ejido beat Espanyol 3-2 in the first leg of a fifth-round Copa del Rey match on Wednesday.

However, the only other lower-league team remaining in the last 16, third-division Real Union, saw its hopes of reaching the quarterfinals dwindle with a 0-1 defeat against visiting Real Betis.

In other matches marked by bitter cold and poor attendances, it was: Racing Santander 1, Valencia 1: Sevilla 2, Deportivo La Coruna 1; and Sporting Gijon 3, Valladolid 1.

The second legs are next week.

El Ejido, which eliminated Villarreal in the previous round, rallied in the second half through Jorge Molina's 50th-minute penalty and Juli Cerda's 60th-minute shot after Moises Hurtado had headed Espanyol into a 16th-minute lead.

Roman Martinez leveled for the visitors in the 72nd with a chipped shot, only for El Ejido midfielder Jose Antonio "Chico" Diaz to produce a spectacular long-range winner four minutes later. Hurtado was ejected for a second yellow card in the 81st.

In the quarterfinals, El Ejido or Espanyol will meet Barcelona, which won 3-1 at Atletico Madrid on Tuesday after a hat-trick by Lionel Messi.

Real Union, which eliminated Real Madrid in the previous round, fell to Betis midfielder Damia Abella's solo effort in the 12th minute.

Defending champion Valencia had left winger Vicente Rodriguez and right back Miguel Brito sent off in separate incidents just before the final whistle at Santander. Miguel lost his temper after receiving his red card, running up to the assistant referee and shouting insults. The Portugal international apologized yesterday.


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