Athletic rallies past Alcoyano to reach Copa quarterfinals

MADRID (AP) — Iñaki Williams scored a 78th-minute winner as Athletic Bilbao came from behind to defeat third-division club Alcoyano in the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey on Thursday.

The win extended Athletic’s run to five straight victories, including against Real Madrid and Barcelona to clinch the Spanish Super Cup title. The Basque Country club has thrived since coach Marcelino García Toral took over in the beginning of the year.

Alcoyano was looking for another upset after shocking Real Madrid in the round of 32. It opened the scoring through Pablo Carbonell in the 39th but Athletic rallied with goals from Asier Villalibre in the 53rd and the winner from William.

Athletic will be playing in the quarterfinals for the second straight season. It reached last year’s final against Basque Country rival Real Sociedad, but the match was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic and has been been rescheduled for April 3 in Seville.

The teams and the Spanish soccer federation had agreed to postpone the match until fans could return to stadiums, but ultimately it will be played without attendance at the La Cartuja Stadium because the problems related to the pandemic are yet to subside.

GRANADA DOMINATES

Granada cruised to a 6-0 rout of third-division club Navalcarnero with four goals scored in the first 34 minutes, including one by veteran striker Roberto Soldado.

Granada reached the semifinals last year, losing to Athletic.

Navalcarnero, which was playing in the last 16 for the first time, beat first-division club Eibar in the round of 32.

The other teams that made it to the last eight are Barcelona, Real Betis, Sevilla, Villarreal, Levante and second-division club Almería.

Atlético Madrid was eliminated in the second round by third-division club Cornellá.

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