Valencia Eliminates Levante From Copa Del ReyValencia, Spain, Jan 27: Valencia advanced to a meeting with Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semifinals after beating Levante 3-0 thanks to Pablo Piatti's double on Thursday for a 7-1 aggregate score.Piatti, who has
Valencia, Spain, Jan 27: Valencia advanced to a meeting with Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semifinals after beating Levante 3-0 thanks to Pablo Piatti's double on Thursday for a 7-1 aggregate score.
Piatti, who has had a subdued role for Unai Emery's side since his arrival this summer from Almeria, played his best game of the season.
The Argentine forward provided a constant threat for the visitors at Ciutat de Valencia Stadium and drew various fouls from Levante's frustrated defense.
Piatti saw his bouncing shot go wide moments before laying off for Aritz Aduriz to net the 25th-minute opener.
Five minutes later Piatti ran onto youth player Juan Bernat's throughball and slotted home Valencia's second goal to put the series against its crosstown rival beyond doubt before halftime.
Levante played from the 72nd with 10 men after recent signing Oscar Serrano received his second booking for fouling Piatti, who then capped the victory in the 86th by drilling in a rebound of a chance he had created for Aduriz.
"We looked to put together a squad (today) without our regular starters, but that we trusted would play for the team and to win," Emery said. "We did just that without losing any players and keeping a clean sheet."
Levante missed injured forward Juanlu Gomez and playmaker Jose Barkero as it failed to make a serious challenge to overturn the 4-1 loss in the first leg.
Barcelona eliminated Real Madrid on a 4-3 aggregate score after a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou on Wednesday. Valencia hosts the European champions next week in the first leg.
"We know it will be tough, but we also know it is possible," Emery said. "We are definitely going to try."
Athletic Bilbao opens the other semifinal with a visit to third-tier Mirandes, which has ousted three straight topflight clubs.