Girona upset at 4th-tier rival in Copa; Atlético advances

December 23, 2022 GMT

MADRID (AP) — Girona became the first top-flight Spanish team to be upset in the Copa del Rey’s round-of-32 on Thursday, while Atlético Madrid had to fight back for victory at another minnow.

Girona, which is 13th in the Spanish league, was upset 2-1 at the fourth-tier Cacereño in western Spain.

After Girona had equalized to make it 1-1, Iván Fernández scored with a superb strike from outside the area to thrill the modest club’s fans. Girona still had half an hour to respond but the hosts held firm.

Atlético almost suffered another surprise before rallying for a 3-1 win at Arenteiro, which had beaten first-division Almería in the previous round.

Diego Simeone was without France’s Antoine Griezmann and Argentina players Nahuel Molina and Ángel Correa after their teams reached the World Cup final. But he did have all his Spanish internationals and most of his regular starters, except for João Félix, who the club said was ill.

Arenteiro, a club in rural northwest Spain playing in the fourth tier, went ahead through Markitos in the 43rd.

Yannick Carrasco quickly leveled with a penalty, but the hosts were energized by goalkeeper Diego García’s save of another penalty by Álvaro Morata.

The big club only took control in the 77th when Pablo Barrios scored from outside the area for the 19-year-old’s first goal with Atlético. Carrasco added a third to complete his brace in injury time.

American midfielder Luca de la Torre got Celta Vigo’s final goal in a 3-0 win at fourth-tier Gernika. The 24-year-old entered in the 57th minute and scored on a a left-foot shot from just inside the penalty area in the 68th after a failed clearance.

This week’s Copa del Rey games are the first involving teams from the first division since they stopped play for the World Cup.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Real Betis and Valencia have had byes through the first two rounds because they qualified to play in the Spanish Super Cup. The quartet will now join in the round-of-16.

The Spanish league starts back up again on Dec. 29.


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