Our cup run continues! Quique Sánchez Flores's men beat Racing Club de Ferrol by two goals to one at the A Malata. Ferrol did not lose at home for the whole of 2023, but goals from Marcao and Juanlu made sure that this streak came to an end. This was a very special day for Marcao, who lost his father yesterday. However, the Brazilian decided to travel with the squad to Ferrol. With the team wearing black armbands in remembrance, Marcao opened the scoring and his account for the club. Despite our dominant first half display, it was the hosts who started the second half strongest and Manzanara equalised in the 50th minute. However, he was later sent off for a second bookable offence before Juanlu's late winner secured our ticket to the Round of 16.
As we settled into the game, we quickly started gaining fluency as we looked to stamp our authority early on. Rafa Mir had the first clear chance of the game. He did well to make some space for himself on the right-hand side of the penalty area but could only find the side netting with his effort. We took the lead on the half-hour mark with Marcao converting from a corner kick. Suso's ball into the box was met by Kike Salas, before a deflection diverted the ball towards the Brazilian, who reacted quickly to poke past Gazzaniga in the Ferrol goal and put us ahead.
Ocampos and Kike Salas could have settled the tie much earlier
We remained comfortable and even had the chance to extend the lead before the break, with Pedrosa winning the ball back and producing a perfect pass to Ocampos, who smashed against the bar with only the keeper to beat. However, Racing pressed in the final moments of the first half but failed to properly test Dmitrovic's goal. They put that right four minutes into the second period, though, when Merino forced Dmitrovic to put the ball behind for a corner and, from the dead ball, Manzanara headed into the back of the net to make it 1-1. At that point, the contest was fairly even and and we struggled in the middle of the park, although the hosts did only have one real opportunity, through Iker Losada, whose effort was easily saved by Dmitrovic after poor control by the frontman. Shortly after, Manzanara, scorer of the equaliser, saw two yellow cards in just 10 minutes, leading to a dismissal that would end up being crucial to the outcome of the match.
There were 15 minutes left and Kike Salas showed our intent with a shot that, for the second time in the game, came back off the crossbar. Sánchez Flores then brought on Januzaj and Nianzou and we regained the initiative when the home side were clinging on for extra time. Sow proceeded to shoot from distance and saw his strike go narrowly wide of the the post, but the deciding moment fell to Juanlu with four minutes to go. Suso's cross from the left was missed by Rafa Mir but the academy product struck a powerful effort past Gazzaniga who couldn’t keep it out. It was a vital goal that avoided unwanted extra time and sees us progress to the Round of 16 draw on Monday at 13:00. Our next tie will take place between the 16th and 18th of January.