Neville receives huge boost as Valencia enter semi-finals
Madrid, January 29
Gary Neville's troubled reign in charge of Valencia was given a huge boost as Los Che progressed to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey with a 1-0 win at Las Palmas on Thursday.
After a 1-1 draw in the first-leg last week, Rodrigo's neat close range finish after 20 minutes was enough for a 2-1 aggregate win. "I'm delighted with the result, delighted with the clean sheet, but I thought we made it damn hard for ourselves," said Neville.
Neville has yet to win in seven La Liga games since taking charge last month, but is undefeated in five matches in the Cup as Valencia have reached the semis for the first time in four years where they will face holders Barcelona, whilst Sevilla take on Celta Vigo in the other semi-final. Barca and Sevilla will be at home in the first legs with the ties to take place on February 3 and 10.
Former Man City striker Alvaro Negredo volleyed into the side-netting early on as Valencia enjoyed by far the better of the first-half. And they were rewarded with the opener when Andre Gomes burst down the left and his low cross was turned home by Rodrigo.
Negredo and Shkodran Mustafi both failed to hit the target with great chances to kill the tie off with a second away goal before the break. However, the visitors were rarely troubled other than one brilliant save from Australian international Matt Ryan to turn Momo's effort over on the hour mark.
Sevilla eased into the last four with a 3-0 win away at Second Division Mirandes to seal a 5-0 rout on aggregate. Any hope of the hosts pulling off a remarkable comeback were dashed when Vicente Iborra converted a ninth minute penalty. Youngster Juan Munoz then made the most of his first start to score his first goal for the senior team before Coke added a third in stoppage time.