MADRID — Leganes has reached the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey for the first time in the team’s 89-year history.
Despite a 2-1 loss at Villarreal on Wednesday, Leganes advanced on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate score. It won the first leg 1-0 at home.
Leganes was founded in 1928 and celebrates its 90th anniversary in June. It is playing only its second season in the first division of Spanish football.
Nabil El Zhar put Leganes ahead before halftime but Daniel Raba equalized for the hosts early in the second half.
Denis Cheryshev scored Villarreal’s winner with only a few minutes left but it was not enough.
Villarreal needed another goal to advance but couldn’t get it despite creating several scoring chances throughout the match — with a great performance by Leganes goalkeeper Nereo Champagne.
“We were able to score first and then took advantage of the missed chances by Villarreal and of a good goalkeeper,” Leganes coach Asier Garitano said. “We knew it was going to be difficult. We needed things to go our way.”
It is the third straight season that Villarreal has been eliminated in the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey.
“Despite conceding the goal, we kept trying throughout the match,” Villarreal attacking midfielder Pablo Fornals said. “We kept believing and we had many chances. We have to congratulate (Champagne), he stopped nearly everything that went his way.”