If any reminder were needed of the talents of Luciano Vietto they were emphatically delivered on Tuesday evening as the 24-year-old completed a wonderful hat-trick to help Valencia to an emphatic Copa del Rey victory over Las Palmas.
After a difficult spell with Atlético Madrid that never saw Vietto display anything like his true ability, the former Racing Club forward was granted a loan move to Valencia last week. Without a goal in over a year, Vietto made a brief appearance in the league at the weekend but started on Tuesday against Las Palmas.
Playing under manager Marcelino once more, who Vietto shone for when first moving to Europe with Villarreal, there was a renewed confidence in the striker and a bright start was rewarded with the opening goal after half an hour. Simone Zaza’s diving header was only parried by Raul Lizoain and Vietto crashed in the rebound to swiftly open his account.
A second followed just after half time with a delightful chip over the goalkeeper but Vietto saved the best for last. Namanja Maksimovic had already thundered in a third when Vietto spectacularly lobbed Lizoain from almost halfway.
The ability has always been there but with the confidence flowing, Vietto showed just why he was considered one of the top young players in Europe prior to his Atleti transfer.
Vietto could be poised for a big 2018 if the early indications are anything to go by and with Valencia into the Copa del Rey quarter finals, Los Che have a great opportunity.
Vietto’s old club Atlético Madrid joined them in the next round, thrashing Lleida Esportiu 3-0 on the night and 7-0 over two legs. Ángel Correa came off the bench to create the second of the night and after waiting patiently is now proving his worth in Madrid.
Correa may yet reclaim a spot in Jorge Sampaoli’s plans but another player certain to feature in Russia was also on target in cup competition on Tuesday.
Manchester City were supposed to make light work of Championship side Bristol City in the Carabao Cup semi final but it took an injury time Sergio Agüero goal to snatch victory.
A Bobby Reid penalty had given the underdogs the lead but even after Kevin de Bruyne equalised after 55 minutes, City struggled to find a winner. Pep Guardiola threw on Agüero 20 minutes from time and in the 92nd minute, the Argentinian got on the end of Bernardo Silva’s cross to nod past Frank Fielding.
City take a slender lead to Ashton Gate in a couple of weeks.