VALENCIA, Spain – Valencia continued its strong season Thursday night, wrapping up an easy 6-1 victory on aggregate over Real Zaragoza to advance to the Copa del Rey round of 16.
Valencia, which had won the Oct. 24 first leg in Zaragoza 2-0, took charge of the second leg from the outset at Mestalla Stadium in this eastern city, although the visitors locked down on defense and managed to keep their more talented opponents from creating any real scoring chances over most of the first half hour.
That changed when a clever exchange of passes by forwards Santi Mina and Simone Zaza set up the former for a goal past Zaragoza net minder Alvaro Raton.
Mina also was responsible for the second score, which came 15 minutes after the intermission when he gathered a ball after a Raton save, maneuvered around two defenders and fired a shot into the right side of the goal.
Valencia then continued to pour it on against its overmatched rival, getting goals in the 67th minute from Robert Ibañez and Ruben Vezo in the 86th minute.
Zaragoza finally salvaged a bit of pride when it got on the board in the 88th minute on a header by midfielder Jorge Pombo.
Valencia also has been impressive in La Liga play thus far in 2017-2018 and currently is in second place 13 games into the season, four points behind league-leading FC Barcelona.
Earlier this week, Barça advanced to the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey, Spain’s annual cup tournament, with an 8-0 victory on aggregate over Murcia.
Real Madrid also booked its place in the last 16 with a 4-2 victory on aggregate over Fuenlabrada.
Copa del Rey action will resume in January.