Valencia edge Atletico to reach last 8

January 30, 2008

MADRID, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Troubled Valencia lifted the gloom on Wednesday when they claimed a place in the semi-finals of the King's Cup after an away goals win over Atletico Madrid.

Valencia, who have won just one of their last 10 league matches, lost 3-2 on the night, but their 1-0 win in the first leg was enough to see them through to the last four.

Ronald Koeman's side were joined in the semis by last season's losing finalists Getafe who claimed another away goals victory over 2003 winners Real Mallorca.

Trailing 1-0 after the first leg, the islanders looked to be on course for victory after an Ariel Ibagaza penalty and a close-range header from Venezuelan striker Juan Arango put them 2-0 up.

But midfielder Esteban Granero stunned the home crowd when his curling cross bounced between a forest of players and crept in at the far post nine minutes from time.

Granero was red-carded a minute from time but the sending off did little to dampen his team's celebrations.

The game at the Calderon started badly for Valencia, fullback Miguel bundling into his own net in the 10th minute after Diego Forlan curled a cross into the area.

Atletico went 2-0 up nine minutes later, Argentine striker Sergio Aguero cracking a low shot in off the far post after a sharp through-ball from Forlan.

But the tie was turned on its head when Atletico midfielder Cleber Santana sent the ball into his own net after Valencia striker Villa tried to cut past him on the edge of the area.

Valencia extended their advantage before the break when forward Juan Manuel Mata hammered home inside the near post from the left side of the area.

Atletico piled forward into attack and went 3-2 up on the hour when defender Juan Valera headed in after a corner. But their efforts were to avail as Valencia kept them at bay for the rest of the game.

Barcelona host Villarreal at the Nou Camp on Thursday, while Racing Santander travel to Athletic Bilbao.