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Leganes punish Rico error as Cup semi first leg ends all square
A goalkeeping howler from Sevilla’s Sergio Rico allowed King’s Cup surprise packages Leganes to secure a 1-1 home draw in their semi-final first leg on Wednesday.
Sevilla dominated and took a deserved lead after 20 minutes through Luis Muriel’s angled finish, but shortly after halftime Rico failed to connect as he attempted to punch a high ball from under his own crossbar and Dimitrios Siovas nodded in.
Having created history with a first victory away to Real Madrid in the quarters, this was a maiden semi-final appearance for Asier Garitano’s Leganes side, who only earned promotion to La Liga for the first time last season.
They were facing a seasoned Sevilla outfit playing in their 12th cup semi-final across all competitions over the past 12 seasons. It appeared Leganes’s lack of experience may get the better of them as the visitors threatened to overwhelm them and goalkeeper Nereo Champagne kept his side in contention with a series of saves before Muriel opened the scoring.
After Leganes had equalised Sevilla, who knocked out Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals, pushed on for a winner but Leganes held firm to the delight of a sold-out Butarque stadium.
Holders Barcelona host Valencia in the other semi on Thursday, with Marcelino’s team looking to avenge an 8-1 aggregate defeat by the Catalans at this stage of the competition in 2016.
Milan, Lazio draw a blank in semi-final first leg
AC Milan and Lazio drew 0-0 in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final at San Siro on Wednesday although it was the visitors who had the better chances.
The result extended Milan's unbeaten run to six matches in all competitions as they continued to improve under coach Gennaro Gattuso.
Ciro Immobile had the first chance for Lazio when he turned past his marker only to fire wide with his left foot.
Immobile, back from injury, also had Lazio's best opportunity just after the hour when he met Jordan Lukaku's cross with a header which forced a superb save from Gianluigi Donnarumma.
But for all Lazio's pressure it was Milan who had the best chance, Hakan Calhanoglu firing over with the goal at his mercy after goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha's save from a Patrick Cutrone header landed at his feet.
The second leg is in Rome on Feb. 28.
Falcao sends Monaco to League Cup final
Radamel Falcao returned to scoring form as his double earned Monaco a 2-0 win over Montpellier on Wednesday and a place in the French League Cup final.
Falcao struck twice before halftime as the hosts set up a rematch of last year’s final against holders Paris St Germain who qualified on Tuesday with a 3-2 win at Stade Rennais.
Rony Lopes was denied a third goal for Monaco after video refereeing ruled the Portugal striker was offside.
Montpellier never really threatened and the principality side comfortably held on for victory.