Real Madrid qualified comfortably for the semi-finals despite losing 1-0 against city neighbours Rayo Vallecano. With the game virtually decided in the first leg which Madrid won four nil, both managers took the opportunity to rest tired players and bring in replacements, with Raúl, Zidane and Figo left out of Del Bosque's squad and Flavio playing his first match since returning from a long injury. Gregorio Manzano also made seven changes with one eye on the weekend league match against Barcelona. The previous result, plus high ticket prices and the intense cold in Madrid meant that the attendance was even poorer than usual in Vallecas, and those that did turn up soon realised that they would have been better off staying at home. Neither side created any real chance at goal until Glaucio hit the post in injury time, and a minute later Peragón beat Casillas to at least give his side victory on the night.
An exciting match at the Nuevo Zorilla stadium, where Deportivo de La Coruña went through thanks to a Diego Tristán penalty after Valladolid had come back to force the game into extra time. The best crowd of the season turned up for this Wednesday night match, spurred on by their side's three goal victory over their rivals in the league at the weekend. Although Deportivo were starting with a two goal advantage after last week's first leg, Irureta took no chances, putting out a strong line up. However they found themselves behind in the third minute when Fernando beat Molina with a diving header, and Mario added a second ten minutes before half time to level the tie at two all. However the visitors got their act together to hold on to extra time, and although they lost Romero when he picked up a second yellow card, Pandiani won his side the crucial penalty ten minutes from the end when he was tripped by Peña. Referee Fernández Marín left Deportivo with nine men at the end when he sent off Pandiani for a second bookable offence, but the Gallicians were through and now have a chance to repeat their 1995 cup victory.
Real Madrid, Deportivo La Coruña, Athletic Bilbao and.....Figueres? The second division B side became the first team from their category to reach the semi-finals of the cup after holding on to their first leg lead with a 0-0 draw at home to Córdoba. The giant killers had already eliminated Barcelona and Osasuna in earlier rounds, and they had surprised the second division A side with a nil two victory last week in Andalucia. The Catalans came out fighting right from the start, although it took a good performance by keeper Cavallero to keep out efforts from Soria and Platero in the first half. Tempers were raised after the break, with López Ramos getting sent off for the visitors on the hour mark and Dani Fernández picking up a straight red in the last minute of normal time, and there was a premature pitch invasion when the local fans thought the game had finished before the referee finally signalled the end. Modesty prevents us from mentioning that Figueres were our tip to win the cup after the first round. (16.01.02)
Athletic Bilbao completed the formalities on Tuesday night, beating an unmotivated Villarreal 1-0 to become the first team to reach the semi-finals. With a two goal lead from the first leg Jupp Heynckes left last week's hero Tiko on the bench. However he didn't need him as Larrazábal and Yeste combined to set up Julen Guerrero for what was to be the only goal of the game with less than a quarter of an hour on the clock. Villarreal's top striker Víctor missed the game through injury, and Víctor Muñoz started the game with Guayre and Quique Martín up front. However he made his three substitutions early in the second half, bringing on new signing Pizzi in an attempt to get back in the game. Bilbao had it all under control however, and the team with 23 cup titles to their name are now in line for their first appearance in a final for sixteen years. (15.01.02)