|Copa del Rey|
The third round of the Spanish Cup took place this week, with lower ranked sides fighting for a lucrative place in the next stage of the competition. As in previous years the round was split into two halves, with second division A teams playing each other, and the rest in the second half of the draw. First division sides enter the competition in the next round, the seeding system guaranteeing top flight opposition for all the survivors.
No doubt the most interesting fixture was between two clubs who have fallen from grace, Celta and Real Sociedad, with the Galicians winning 2-0 thanks to a goal midway through each half from Dinei the first finishing off an effort from Trashorras, and the second from Fabiano Lima's cross. Second division leaders Hércules beat Girona 1-0 despite putting out a side packed with reserves, Morán getting their only goal early in the second half. They had to hold on in the end though after César was sent off for a second bookable offence with half an hour still to go.
Elsewhere Castellón beat Salamanca 0-1 thanks to a strike from on loan youth international Emilio N'sue in the first minute of extra time after a mistake by the local defence. And Rayo Vallecano came back from one down to win 2-1 against Albacete, Merino's long shot in the opening minutes of the second half soon being cancelled out by Enguix's header, and Piti getting his first goal of the season a few minutes later. Murcia were given a bye to the next round.
Six lower division teams won through to the big prize though, all being guaranteed a seeded fourth round tie against one of the eight clubs who qualified for Europe this season. Portugalete are the only third division side left in the competition, the Basques beating Andalusia's Don Benito 2-0 with goals from Arzubiaga and Gorroño fifteen minutes either side of the break. Portu's neighbours Real Unión will also be there after coming from behind to win 2-1 against local rivals Barakaldo, Rebollo's early goal being overturned by strikes either side of half time from Goikoetxea and Salcedo.
Ponferradina join them in the hat after beating Universidad Las Palmas on penalties following a 1-1 draw. Sergio Hernández gave the visitors the lead on the stroke of half time but David De Paula equalised after the restart. And Dani Borreguero scored the last spot kick for a 4-2 result in the shoot out. Orihuela also made sure of their place in the last 32 with a 3-1 win over Toledo, ex first division strikers Iván Espadas and Tevenet putting them two up with only ten minutes on the clock. Oscar got one back for the visitors, but Espadas got his second of the night shortly before the interval.
Poli Ejido get some compensation after being relegated last season, winning through 2-3 at Melilla. Raúl Torres equalised for the Andalusians after Ramos's first minute strike, and Gregori and Molina added two more before Chota's late consolation in injury time. But Granada '74 suffered another disappointment, losing 0-2 at home to Benidorm, Luismi Loro opening the scoring for the coastal resort side in the sixth minute and Ruano wrapped things up later in the first half. (08.10.08)
Elche will join the other thirty-one teams in tomorrow's fourth round draw after beating Tenerife on penalties on Thursday evening. The first 90 minutes ended without goals, and although the home side went ahead with a Pablo Sicilia own goal in the first minute of extra time, a Cristo equaliser took the tie in to a sudden death finish. Willy Caballero proved to be the hero in the shoot out though, the local keeper saving two spot kicks and scoring the final one himself to make it 4-3. The result saves the head of local coach David Vidal, at least until the weekend. (09.10.08)