MADRID (AP) — Third-tier Racing Santander shrugged off its financial woes to win 2-0 at topflight Almeria and reach the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey alongside cup holder Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.
Atletico compounded Valencia's disappointing league campaign by knocking it out of the cup with a 2-0 home victory in the second leg and a 3-1 win on aggregate.
Almeria enjoyed the away-goal advantage following a 1-1 first-leg draw at El Sardinero, a match better remembered for a player protest over wages and the storming of the president's box by unruly Santander fans frustrated by the club's rapid fall in the professional ranks.
Santander had already eliminated Sevilla and Mariano Sanz made the last eight look likely with his 62nd minute header.
Ruben Duran secured the visitors' spot 3-1 on aggregate in the 79th as he ran onto a throw-in and tapped it up with his left foot before volleying home with his right on the run.
"These circumstances are making us stronger," Mariano said. "This is a way to fight back against all of these problems."
Santander's players haven't been paid for three months. The club has slipped down to the third division in just two seasons following the exit of former owner Ahsan Ali Syed, who left the club in crisis, relegated from the top-flight after the 2011/12 season and needing a cash injection just to stay afloat.
Racing now faces either Villarreal or Real Sociedad, who meet on Thursday after a scoreless first leg.
Following its Spanish league showdown with Barcelona, Atletico showed no dip in intensity against a Valencia side that has seen its form slide amid its own financial problems.