Copa del Rey, fourth round, second leg

Four lower league clubs made it through to the last sixteen of the competition following this week's matches. The surprise of the round though was undoubtedly the elimination of cup holders Espanyol by second division B side Rayo Vallecano, who beat their opponents 0-1 in their own Montjuic stadium on Wednesday evening. Ex Spanish international Michel got the only goal of the match in the second half, leaving local coach Ernesto Valverde walking a tightrope. Espanyol's neighbours Gimnàstic didn't fare much better though, losing 1-3 to Valladolid. Portillo cancelled out the second division side's first leg lead early on, but three in the last half hour from Oscar Sánchez, Alvaro and Mario Suárez handed the Catalans their eighth defeat in a row.

There was little doubt that Málaga would go through after their 4-1 win against struggling Real Sociedad in the first leg, although the Basque side did put up a better performance with a 2-1 victory, their first of the season. Home grown striker Díaz de Cerio gave the home fans some hope with two goals, but Chengue Morales struck ten minutes from the end to put the result beyond their reach. Alavés were the fourth of the lower ranked clubs to go through, a 0-1 win at Celta on Thursday evening enough to win the tie. The Galicians were in confident mood after beating Real Madrid on Sunday, but a headed goal by Wesley immediately after the restart ended their participation for this year.

Real Madrid themselves had no trouble in the end beating Ecija 5-1 on Thursday, although the first half ended without goals and the home fans whistled off their players at the break. Beckham broke the ice though at the start of the second half, and Ronaldo and Van Nistelrooy (from the penalty spot) proved that they can play together adding two more. Mario got one back for the 2B side, but two more from Van Nistelrooy and De la Red wrapped things up. Barcelona also had an easy passage, defeating neighbours Badalona 4-0 in their second leg match. Rijkaard rested most of his key players, but Van Bronckhorst and Ezquerro gave them a first half lead and Saviola added two more later on.

Sevilla are through after a 3-0 victory over third division side Gimastica Segoviana, with Maresca opening the scoring from the penalty spot, Aitor Ocio getting the second on the stroke of half time and Duda getting the third after the restart. Valencia beat Racing Portuense 2-0, David Silva and Hugo Viana getting their goals in the first half (although the victory was overshadowed by another injury, this time to Regueiro). And Osasuna finally put on their scoring boots with a 4-0 win over third division neighbours Peña Sport, Webó starting things off in the first half and Romeo, Soldado and Josetxo (his first ever for the club) adding three more after the interval.

There were three other ties between first and second division clubs, with the top flight sides going through in all cases. Getafe had a fright though against Xerez, the Andalusians cancelling out the two goal first leg lead with a first minute penalty from Yordi and another strike from Castaño before the break before Alexis made it 1-2 late on. Last season's runners up Zaragoza went through thanks to a 2-0 win over Hércules, D'Alessandro and Ewerthon getting their goals early in the second half. And Villarreal saw off local rivals Castellón, Nihat scoring a goal in each half as they repeated the 2-0 scoreline from the first leg.

Four clashes between first division sides, with Deportivo scraping through 1-3 on the penalty shoot out after a 1-0 defeat at Racing Santander left the tie all square. Crisitian Alvarez got the goal for the Cantabrians with a first half penalty. Betis coach Javier Irureta breathed a sigh of relief after his side beat Andalusian neighbours Recreativo 2-0, a Fernando penalty and a Sobis strike either side of half time taking them through. Contreras saved a penalty late on, and Recre ended with nine men after Barber and Poli were sent off.

Mallorca qualified for the last sixteen after beating Athletic Bilbao 2-1 in extra time, Víctor getting the winner after Yeste had cancelled out an earlier strike by Jankovic, who was sent off at the end of the second half. The Tuesday night match between Levante and Atlético Madrid had to be postponed though because of a waterlogged pitch, and will probably now take place in December. The date for the fifth round draw has still to be decided. (09.11.06)