Football: Relief for Neville as Valencia make Cup semis

MADRID - Gary Neville's troubled reign in charge of Valencia was given a huge boost as Los Che progressed to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey with a 1-0 win at Las Palmas on Thursday.

After a 1-1 draw in the first-leg last week, Rodrigo's neat close range finish after 20 minutes was enough for a 2-1 aggregate win.

Valencia will be joined by holders Barcelona, Sevilla and Celta Vigo in Friday's semi-final draw.

"I'm delighted with the result, delighted with the clean sheet, but I thought we made it damn hard for ourselves," said Neville.

"I think we like to make the Valencia fans suffer a bit, but I'm delighted for the fans.

"They deserve a semi-final. They have been patient with me and the players for the past four or five weeks and we need to give them joy." Neville has yet to win in seven La Liga games since taking charge last month, but is undefeated in five matches in the Cup as Valencia have reached the semis for the first time in four years.

Former Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo volleyed into the side-netting early on as Valencia enjoyed by far the better of the first-half.

And they were rewarded with the opener when Andre Gomes burst down the left and his low cross was turned home by Rodrigo.

Negredo and Shkodran Mustafi both failed to hit the target with great chances to kill the tie off with a second away goal before the break.

However, the visitors were rarely troubled other than one brilliant save from Australian international Matt Ryan to turn Momo's effort over on the hour mark.

Sevilla eased into the last four with a 3-0 win away at Second Division Mirandes to seal a 5-0 rout on aggregate.

Any hope of the hosts pulling off a remarkable comeback were dashed when Vicente Iborra converted a ninth minute penalty.

Youngster Juan Munoz then made the most of his first start to score his first goal for the senior team before Coke added a third in stoppage time.

Barcelona and Celta Vigo sealed their passage into the last four on Wednesday.

Barca had to weather a first-half storm from Athletic Bilbao before coming from behind to win 3-1 on the night in a repeat of last season's final to seal a 5-2 aggregate win.

Celta produced the upset of the round as they became the first side since Barca exactly a year ago to score three goals in a game against Atletico Madrid to win 3-2 on the night and on aggregate at the Vicente Calderon.