Copa del Rey - third round, first leg
With European competitions on hold until late February, it's time for the Spanish cup to recommence. After two rounds of sudden death matches, the competition returns to it's traditional two leg format from now on, much to the relief of the first division sides.
Last year's champions Deportivo La Coruña were the first to be grateful for the two leg format when they were held to a 1-1 draw in the opening match against second division B side Alicante. Irureta used the opportunity to give a run out to some of his lesser used players, but their lack of match practice was evident, and they fell behind five minutes before the break when Morante headed past keeper Dani Mallo. However substitute Sergio levelled the scores ten minutes from the end after a short free kick. (07.01.03)
Osasuna were the first to kick off on Wednesday, and they wrapped up their tie with a 0-4 victory against the other second division B side left in the competition, Real Unión. Paqui started things off twenty minutes in to the game, home side keeper Arteaga fumbling his corner kick into his own net, and youngster Brit added a second, also following a corner, on the stroke of half time. Gancedo made it three after the break, following up after a shot from another youngster De Carlos was blocked, and Brit got his second of the night later in the half.
There were no major surprises, but Terrassa did come back from two goals down against what was effectively a Real Madrid reserve side to draw 3-3. Portillo put Del Bosque's side ahead from the penalty spot after keeper Maestro brought down Tote, and although substitute Babangida equalised after the break, acting captain Guti scored twice in four minutes, the second from a free kick, to apparently put Madrid on the road to victory. However two goals in the last ten minutes from Monty squared the game, giving the first division side something to think about for next week's second leg.
Atlético Madrid won their away leg at Xerez 0-1, although it was not an easy victory, particularly in the second half when the second division side tested Mono Burgos on several occasions. Albertini gave the visitors the lead in the first half following a short free kick, his long shot surprisingly beating an inattentive Mora. However Schuster's side deserved at least to draw on their return to the Chapín stadium, and could have done so if Gerard's last minute effort had not hit the bar.
Sevilla were the only other side to win, beating Numancia 1-3 on a snowy night in Soria. Unlike other first division managers, Caparrós was not taking any chances, and he was rewarded when Torrado beat Alvaro Nuñez with a low hard shot just before half time. The second division side came back after the break, Miguel Pérez equalising from Pacheta's pass, but Marcos Vales came on to set up goals for Reyes and then Fredi for the final scoreline.
Alavés took a 0-0 draw back to Vitoria from their first leg visit to Murcia, although it was not a particularly inspiring game of football. The second division side dominated the first half but could not take their chances, and the visitors had the better of things after the break, Reinke saving well from Rubén Navarro's only real shot at goal. Alavés finished with nine men after Desío got injured and Eggen got himself sent off, and Dutruel had to stop an effort from Pedro Largo right at the end to keep the scores level.
There were two all first division ties, both of which also ended in draws. The game between Betis and Recreativo ended 0-0, with neither side really creating many problems for the opposing keeper. Prats had to save from Gallego early on, Joao Tomas and Fernando both went close at the other end, and Assunçao hit the post with a shot in the last minute. The local fans were unhappy though, and whistled their team off the pitch at the end.
Mallorca went ahead twice against Valladolid, but ended up drawing 2-2. Lozano scored the first in the twelfth minute with a header, but manager Pepé Moré's son Javier levelled the scores before half time. Local keeper Miki had to make a vital save from Oscar after the restart, and when Pandiani put the Islanders in front from a Carlos pass they looked like breaking their losing run. However substitute Pachón scored again near the end to give the visitors an advantage for the second leg. (08.01.03)