MIRANDA DE EBRO, Spain – Third-division club Mirandes’ extended its fairytale run in the Copa del Rey to the semifinals Tuesday after a stoppage-time goal secured a 2-1 victory over Espanyol to put the team through on the away-goal rule.
Spectators at the 6,000-capacity Anduva Municipal stadium invaded the field following the final whistle, moments after Cesar Fernandez de la Heras crouched low to head Pablo Infante’s free kick inside the near post for the 92nd-minute winner.
Infante, who works a bank job during the day, cancelled out Rui Fonte’s 47th-minute opener for the visitors with his competition-high sixth goal 10 minutes later, when his long-range shot deflected off a defender to land beyond ‘keeper Francisco Casilla.
Trailing 3-2 against the topflight club after the first leg, Mirandes enjoyed the better chances before Fonte’s opener.
But the hosts, led by Infante, continued to press forward and forced Casilla into making a number of key saves — including in the 90th — before the semiprofessional team finally prevailed.
“This is incredible, this is incredible,” Infante screamed while mobbed by fans. “We all ran, we all fought, we all worked together.”
In a reference to his club’s take on the famed “This is Anfield” sign at Liverpool’s home ground, Infante added: “At the entrance (of the stadium) it says ‘This is Anduva’ so you know what to expect.”
Villarreal and Racing Santander were the othe topflight clubs to exit at the hands of Mirandes, which is the first third-tier club to reach the last four since Figueres in 2002.