|Copa del Rey|
Semi-finals, second leg
Matches played on 30th and 31st January. (First leg scores in brackets)
Deportivo La Coruña (1) 1 - Figueres (0) 1
Scaloni, César, Donato, Capdevila; José Manuel, Emerson, Duscher;
Djalminha (Sergio 80'); Diego Tristán (Amavisca 70'), Pandiani. 4-3-1-2.
Deportivo La Coruña scraped in to the final of the Spanish cup by the back door after drawing 1-1 in the second leg of their tie against Figueres. The second division B side put up a great fight and were the better team for much of the game at the Riazor stadium, where Jabo Irureta once again put out a side packed with reserves. Starting with a one goal lead from the first leg, Depor increased their advantage when José Manuel got on the end of a speculative cross from Diego Tristán in the fifth minute. However from then on the Catalan side took over, and were unlucky not to take the lead through efforts from Arnau and Algar before the break. Depor slowed the game down in the second half, replacing Tristán and Djalminha with midfielders Amavisca and Sergio, and the two combined for Sergio to send a shot just wide of the post. However referee Pérez Burrull awarded a much disputed penalty to the visitors in the second minute of injury time for a foul on Peña, and Piti stroked the ball home to make it all square on the night. Another goal would have taken Figueres through on the away goals rule, but two minutes later it was all over and Deportivo go on to play the final in the Bernabeu stadium on 6th March.
Real Madrid (1) 3 - Athletic Bilbao (2) 0
Real Madrid: Casillas; Michel Salgado, Karanka, Pavón, Roberto Carlos; Iván Helguera, Makelele; Figo, Zidane (Solari 67'), Raúl (Munitis 89'); Morientes (Guti 60'). 4-2-3-1. Bilbao: Aranzubia; Felipe, Larrainzar, Oscar Vales (Joseba Etxeberria 60'), Aitor Ocio, Javi González; Tiko, Carlos García, Alkiza (Orbaiz 83'), Ezquerro (Yeste 76'); Urzaiz. 5-4-1.
Real Madrid achieved their objective of reaching the Spanish cup final with a flattering 3-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao. With the final to be played in their own Santiago Bernabeu stadium on 6th March, the night they celebrate their centenary, Del Bosque was under orders not to fail, and he put out his usual first choice line up. Bilbao's manager Heynckes set out his stall clearly from the start, leaving Joseba Etxeberria on the substitute's bench and Julen Guerrero in the stands and playing with five at the back. For the first 45 minutes his plan worked, and with Zidane being tackled out of the game by Carlos García the teams went in at the break all square. However it was a risky tactic with Madrid only needing a single goal to go through, and they got it only seven minutes after the restart under fortunate circumstances, the Basque captain Larrainzar turning the ball into his own net from Figo's' corner after young keeper Aranzubia misjudged the flight. Seven minutes later another defensive error by the same two players left Raúl with the easiest of tasks of heading Helguera's cross into an empty net. Heynckes threw on Etxeberria, and he almost scored with a header which brushed the far post. But then Madrid substitute Guti put the result beyond the visitors' reach with an incisive strike, his sixth of the competition. Urzaiz headed wide minutes from the end with the goal at his mercy as Bilbao threw everything forward, but Madrid could well have scored again when Aranzubia made point blank saves from Raúl and then Figo. They had done enough though, and Florentino Pérez's gamble of asking for the final has paid off as his team reach the final for the first time in nine years.