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Ighalo scores brace as Granada wins in Copa del Rey

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The Canadian Press
12/8/2013 1:20:52 PM
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BARCELONA, Spain -- Odion Ighalo scored two goals to guide Granada to a 2-0 win at second-division Alcorcon on Sunday, giving the topflight side a commanding lead in its Copa del Rey tie.

Also in the round of 32, seven-time winner Valencia was held to a 0-0 draw at third-division Nastic Tarragona, while Espanyol needed a late goal from Christian Stuani to secure a 2-2 draw at second-division Real Jaen.

Almeria did take care of business and struck three times in 11 first-half minutes to earn a 3-1 victory at second-tier Las Palmas.

Ighalo headed in Fran Rico's free kick to open the scoring for Granada on the half-hour mark, and the Nigerian striker added a second goal in the 81st minute after expertly wrong-footing his marker on the break.

Alcorcon striker Francisco Peral wasted the hosts' best chance in the 71st when he sent the ball off the crossbar from the edge of the six-yard box.

Other than those few scoring opportunities, the match was a scrappy, defensive struggle at the Santo Domingo Stadium where in 2009 the unknown Alcorcon humiliated Real Madrid 4-0 in the cup competition while in the third division.

"It wasn't easy to win 2-0 here because Alcorcon is a team with a lot of tradition," Granada coach Lucas Alcaraz said. "It was a much more complicated game than just any other league match because we play at another pace in the first division and Alcorcon is always a very difficult rival."

Valencia was fortunate not to head back to Mestalla with a loss after being outplayed by Nastic, whose pair of Ivory Coast forwards Junior Wakalible and Jean Luc Gbayara ran amok in the visitors' defence.

Valencia will miss Brazilian striker Jonas for the return leg against Nastic after he was dismissed with a second booking in the 87th.

Espanyol appeared to be in control after midfielder David Lopez scored a rebound in first-half injury time, but Jaen rallied to take the lead after Sidnei scored an own goal in the 65th and Jozabed Sanchez netted five minutes later.

The match swung back to finally favour Espanyol when Stuani headed in a corner kick with two minutes to play to give his team the away-goal advantage entering the return leg.

Almeria striker Oscar Diaz scored two goals to fuel its big win in the Canary Islands.

Diaz controlled a cross by Raul Garcia behind Las Palmas' passive defence to open in the 16th.

Almeria's Aleix Vidal pounced on a poor back pass by Las Palmas to make it 2-0 in the 22nd, and four minutes later Diaz converted a penalty kick when Ramon Azeez was fouled in the area.

Almeria's Christian Fernandez was sent off with a second yellow card in the 61st. Nauzet Aleman pulled one back for Las Palmas in the 74th with a free kick before seeing a direct red card in the 81st for kicking an opponent, meaning he too will miss the second leg.

Later, Malaga hosts Osasuna in the day's only matchup of first-division sides.

The return legs will be in two weeks' time.

Soccer Balls (Photo: Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)
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