A thrilling match between the last two cup winners, Valencia and Sevilla, with the defending champions running out 3-2 winners in the first leg. David Villa intercepted a bad back pass from Adriano to put the Ches ahead early on, but the Spanish international striker limped off with an injury a few minutes later. Luis Fabiano got ahead of Guaita to head in Diego Capel's cross seven minutes after the restart, and Adriano gave the Andalusians the lead from Renato's pass soon afterwards, the referee ruling that Maduro had touched the ball to play the flanker onside. With seven minutes to go though Baraja picked up Mata's short pass to level the scores once again, and a couple of minutes later Mata struck home the winner with a shot which deflected off Squillaci past Palop.
Later in the evening city rivals Espanyol and Barcelona drew 0-0 in their first leg tie. Pochettino was in charge of the locals after Mané became their second manager to be fired this season, and his team held their own against a side missing most of their key players. Luis García brushed the far post with an angled shot early on and Iniesta replied with a long effort which Kameni had no problems dealing with. Guardiola eventually brought on Xavi and Messi, but only a shot from Bojan caused any troubled for the local defence, and Pinto had to stop a late effort from Nené to keep the scores level. Everything will be settled down the road next week in the Nou Camp. (15.01.09)
Mallorca got the edge over Betis in their first leg tie on Thursday evening, the Balearic Islanders winning 1-0 despite putting out a weakened line-up. The visitors had the better of the first half though, with Emanà almost catching out Dudu Aouate with a shot from the halfway line, Xisco having a goal disallowed for a borderline offside, and Aouate saving from Damìa. Xisco went close again soon after the restart, but Castro tested Ricardo with a long shot, and Webó fired another effort wide as the locals got back in the game. And Twenty minutes in to the second half Keita beat Melli to a long ball to score his fourth in the competition and win the game for his team.
Earlier in the evening Athletic Bilbao and Sporting Gijón drew 0-0 in the San Mamés stadium, setting up an interesting second leg next week. The Basque side should have taken the lead midway through the first half when they were awarded a hotly disputed penalty after Llorente fell under a challenge from Neru. However Llorente fired the spot kick wide, and local keeper Iraizoz had to be at his best to save from Barral and Omar to keep the scores level at the break. Camacho almost beat the keeper with a long shot after the restart and Sergio Sánchez had to keep out a Llorente header after the restart, but in the end both teams settled for the draw. (22.01.09)