Diego Costa came off the bench on his return to Atlético Madrid to score their third goal in the 4-0 win at third tier Lleida Esportiu in the first leg of the Copa del Rey last 16.
Costa and fellow new recruit Vitolo started on a strong Atléti bench,which also included Antoine Griezmann,and watched as a Diego Godin header and close range finish from Fernando Torres gave them a two goal half time lead.
The trio came on in and around the hour mark with Costa taking just six minutes to get his first goal back with Los Colchoneros as he knocked home from Juanfran’s pass.
Third tier Lleida, who had knocked out La Liga Real Sociedad in the last round, were reduced to ten men in the last minute when Marc Trilles picked up his second yellow card and Griezmann’s deflected free kick found the net for four to round off a miserable night for the minnows.
Manager Diego Simeone heaped praise on Costa and Vitolo but also spoke highly of Torres and fellow first half striker Kevin Gameiro, saying “Costa’s entry gave us what we need; speed, strength and physicality but in the first half Torres and Gameiro responded very well. With the arrival of Vitolo and Costa, we are looking to grow, we are looking to continue improving and hopefully we will achieve this.”
Sevilla will also take a healthy lead into their second leg after a 2-0 win at Segunda side Cadiz.
New boss Vincenzo Montella made his Sevilla managerial debut against a Cadiz side who had knocked out Sevilla’s near rivals Real Betis in the last round with a 6-4 aggregate victory and knew this would be a tough game.
His nerves would have been settled however when Nolito opened the scoring just nine minutes in. He picked up Ever Banega’s pass on the left hand side of the box and as he moved it onto his right foot, with everyone expecting a curled shot to the far post, he wrapped his foot around the ball to find the bottom corner at the near post.
Simon Kjaer’s long ball was then misjudged by left back Brian Olivan allowing Jesus Navas to get the ball and fire it into the net from a tight angle.
Cadiz had a chance from the penalty spot late on after Sergio Rico’s foul but the Sevilla keeper redeemed himself by denying Salvi Sanchez from the spot with a fingertip save onto the post.
Paco Jemez was another manager who made his debut with his new club this evening as his Las Palmas side took on Valencia in Gran Canaria.
The Yellows were the better side for the majority of the game and eventually made the breakthrough on 36 minutes when Jonathan Calleri scored from close range after Borja Herrera’s low cross.
They were unable to add a second however and substitute Rodrigo levelled things up just five minutes from the end as he slid in to score from Toni Lato’s pass making Valencia clear favourites to progress at the Mestalla on Tuesday.
Alaves continued their good form from before the winter break as they won 3-1 at Segunda B outfit Formentera.
The Islanders had knocked out Basques Athletic Bilbao in the last 32 but were comfortably beaten by Bilbao’s neighbours.
Ermedin Demirovic put the La Liga side ahead on 36 minutes with a header from Victor Lopez’s cross but Javi Rosa nodded home from a corner just before the hour mark to level the match up.
Demirovic restored the lead with a lovely backheel from Ruben Sobrino’s low ball eight minutes later and Munir’s powerful shot from the edge of the box ensured a first leg win for the side from Vitoria.
Lleida Esportiu 0-4 Atlético Madrid Formentera 1-3 Alaves Cadiz 0-2 Sevilla Las Palmas 1-1 Valencia