Copa del Rey, third round

Close calls in almost all of the Spanish cup games played today, with six of the eleven matches ending in penalty shoot outs and a seventh going to extra time. Under the new structure, five of the ties were between teams from the second division A, and there were penalty wins for Málaga and Alavés against two neighbouring sides, Almería and Poli Ejido. Hércules manager José Bordalás relieved some of the pressure with a 2-0 victory over Las Palmas, although Cádiz coach Oli is in trouble after his side lost for the second time in four days to Castellón. Elsewhere Valladolid beat Elche thanks to a controversial penalty, and they will be in next Monday's draw which includes first division sides for the first time.

The big prizes in the fourth round though await the six lower division sides who won through. They will be seeded to face six of the top flight clubs who are playing in Europe, with Barcelona and Real Madrid the ones everybody wants. With so much at stake all the games were closely fought, Rayo Vallecano, Badalona, Gimnastica Segoviana and Ecija all winning in the shoot outs, Portuense beating Linares in extra time and only Peña Sport (the only surviving third division club together with Gimnastica) having a relatively comfortable victory against Alcoyano. (04.10.06)