First division sides entered the Spanish cup competition this week, with the big two kicking off on Tuesday. Real Madrid started things off with a first leg tie against second division B side Murcia, the spectre of defeats against Real Unión and Alcorcón in the last two seasons hanging over their heads. Mourinho decided to include several of his first choice players in his squad, but even so they were unable to find the route to goal against a rival who are currently sitting at the top of the table following their relegation from the second division A last year. Local keeper Dani Hernández was the star of the match with a string of saves from Cristiano Ronaldo, Pedro Léon and others, Benzema had a goal disallowed for offside, and Granero also hit the bar. Everything though will be decided in a couple of weeks' time in the Bernabeu.
Later in the evening Barcelona took a big step towards a place in the last sixteen with a 0-2 victory at Ceuta, the Spanish enclave on the North coast of Africa. Guardiola left many of his key players at home, but they went ahead in the sixteenth minute when Maxwell picked up a return pass from Bojan to beat keeper Nauzet from a wide angle. Ten minutes later Pedro made it two after Maxwell crossed in from the left wing, and Bojan should have increased the lead when he hit the bar from close range a minute or so later. After the break Bojan came up against Nauzet a couple more times, but in the end it was a case of saving energy for Saturday's game against Sevilla, and the home side had a couple of chances themselves in the dying minutes. (26.10.10)
Many managers decided to follow Mourinho's lead, and teams were stronger than usual for the early round. Only one first division side lost to lower ranked opposition, Racing Santander defeated 2-0 by Córdoba. Díaz de Cerio set up Oriol Riera to head the first before the break, and netted the second following a corner with a quarter of an hour to go. The result puts more pressure on coach Miguel Angel Portugal. Getafe had problems as well against the only remaining regional third division side, Portugalete, and in the end they were grateful to come away with a 1-1 draw. Youngster Adrián Sardinero gave them the lead early on, but Gaizka Bergara equalised for the Basque team in the second half.
Villarreal could only draw 1-1 as well against second division B side Poli Ejido. Fresh in the memory was the 5-0 thrashing that Poli gave their opponents two years ago when they were still in the second division, but shortly before half time Altidore got his first goal in a yellow shirt after Cani set him up. Matilla hit the bar after the break, but Moreno beat Juan Carlos in the last minute to save the draw. Elsewhere Levante beat Xerez 2-3, with José Mari and Mario Bermejo twice putting the second division team ahead and Stuani pulling it back both times, the first from the penalty spot. Robusté won it for the visitors with a third goal right at the end. And there were no goals at all in the all-first-division tie between Hércules and Málaga, with Portillo firing a penalty against the bar for the locals and Cristian also rattling the woodwork for them later on.
No problems for the big teams though on Wednesday, with Atlético Madrid beating Universidad Las Palmas 0-5. Godín and Agüero started them off before the interval, and Diego Costa, Agüero and Fran Mérdia added three more after the restart. Defending champions Sevilla won 0-4 at Real Unión, although it was not until a minute before half time that Negredo opened the scoring. Three minutes after the restart the Irún based side were left with ten men after defender Yuri stooped Negredo's shot going in to the net with his hand, and although Negredo missed the spot kick, he scored his second of the night soon afterwards. Alfaro and José Carlos scored two more after that. And Valencia had no problems seeing off Logroñés with a 0-3 victory, Aduríz scoring twice and Vicente adding a third n the first quarter of an hour of the second half.
Relief for Zaragoza and José Aurelio Gay, a 0-1 win at Betis taking some pressure off the coach for a few days at least. It was an intriguing match between the top of the second division and the bottom of the first, but the higher ranked side won it thanks to a Gabi penalty on the hour mark after Braulio was fouled in the area. Espanyol also punched their weight, beating Valladolid 0-2 with two goals either side of half time by young striker Alvaro Vázquez. By then though the locals were down to ten men after Jesús Rueda was rather harshly sent off for a high kick on Raúl Baena in the twentieth minute. Meanwhile Mallorca got the edge in the all-first-division clash with Sporting Gijón, Rubén rounding off a 3-1 victory heading a last minute Tejera free kick. Cavenaghi had given the islanders a two goal lead in the first half hour, the second after Cuéllar had saved his penalty kick, but Barral got one back on the hour mark. (27.10.10)
Three more games on Thursday, with all eyes on Alcorcón to see if they could repeat their giant killing against Real Madrid last season. They are a fully fledged second division club now, but even so their opponents this time Athletic Bilbao got the better of them with a 0-1 win. Caparrós paid them great respect putting out a full strength line-up, but even so it took a spectacular shot from Gurpegui to win it for them in the second half. Athletic's neighbours Real Sociedad and Osasuna didn't do so well though. Real Sociedad appeared to be cruising against Almería with goals from Sarpong and Elustondo in the first half hour, but after the break Ansotegi deflected a Goitom shot past his own keeper, and Ulloa scored two more to make it 2-3 in the end. And Osasuna could only draw 1-1 with Deportivo, a tricky result to take in to the second leg in a fortnight's time. Juanfran put the locals ahead midway through the second half, but Saúl equalised for the Galicians just three minutes later. (28.10.10)