An exciting night of cup football on Wednesday, with Barcelona, Deportivo and Sevilla all making it through to the quarter finals. Barcelona only went through on the away goal rule though after a 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao. Honours were shared in the first half, with Villa and Messi bringing good saves out of Iraizoz and Susaeta and Gurpegui going close at the other end. Villa headed over soon after the restart, but with a quarter of an hour to go Abidal (who had been felled by an object thrown from the crowd earlier on) ran on to Messi's pass to score. Llorente picked up an assist by Iraola to equalise though with six minutes to go, and the result was in the balance until the final whistle.
Deportivo only just scraped through as well, the Galicians being taken to extra time by second division Córdoba before running out 3-1 winners. With one eye on the weekend's game against Barcelona, Lotina made several changes to his line-up. But although Juan Rodríguez could have scored two or three times before the break, the Andalusians took the lead when Arteaga picked up a long ball from Pepe Díaz to beat Manu with only four minutes to go. Substitute Adrián converted a last minute penalty though after Sesma handled in the area to take the tie in to extra time. And with the visitors down to ten men after Tena was sent off for a foul on Valerón, the youth international striker scored two more in the next thirty minutes to complete his hat-trick, the first after Valerón put him through, and the second from the penalty spot after keeper Alberto brought down Seone in the area.
Earlier in the evening Sevilla saw off neighbours Málaga, Manzano's side building on their 5-3 first leg victory with a 0-3 win in the Rosaleda stadium. With three new signings in the line-up, Pellegrini's side dominated the first half, Palop having to save from Duda, Apoño and Eliseu. But six minutes after the restart Romaric beat Asenjo with a long free kick, and a quarter of an hour later Perotti turned in a Navas cross to put the result beyond Málaga's reach. Soon afterwards Weligton was sent off for a second bookable offence, and Luis Fabiano rounded off a good night for the defending champions with a third goal from another well struck free kick. (05.01.11)
More excitement in the cup on the "Three Kings' Day" national holiday, nowhere more so than at Getafe, where second division Betis overturned a 1-2 adverse scoreline with a 1-3 victory in Madrid. Ustari kept the locals in the game in the first half with saves from Emaná, Salva Sevilla, Nacho and Rubén Castro, but the keeper couldn't prevent Jorge Molina from putting the Andalusians ahead soon after the restart. And after that Salva Sevilla set up Rubén Castro to score two more before Casquero ran on to Miku's pass for a late consolation in injury time. Miku blotted his own copy-book at the end by earning himself a red card for insulting the referee as the teams left the pitch, and it will be Betis and not Getafe who will face Barcelona in next week's quarter finals.
Mallorca and Almería were next up, and by half time it was all over as the visitors scored four times. Within three minutes they were already two up, Piatti heading in a Juanma Ortíz cross and Ortíz getting the second himself from Ulloa's centre. Crusat set up Ortíz again for the third with just under half an hour gone, and Piatti scored his second of the evening with a shot from outside of the area shortly before the break. In the last twenty minutes Cavenaghi scored twice from Víctor's assists and Pereira fired home another in between for Laudrup's side to match the first leg 3-4 result, but it was never going to be enough, and Almería go on to play Deportivo in the next round. They will be missing Vargas for the first leg though after he picked up a second booking near the end.
A thrilling game at Villarreal, where the home side came back from two down to win 4-2 against local rivals Valencia. Banega and Soldado put the visitors two up at the break, the first a long shot early on which keeper Juan Carlos let through his hands, and the second after pulling down a long Maduro pass before slipping the ball past the keeper. But just a minute after the restart Cazorla picked up a pass from Rossi to get one back, and four minutes later Rossi equalised from the penalty spot after Stankevicius had brought down Marco Rubén. A quarter of an hour later Rubén himself scored a third for his side after Cani and Cazorla combined to set him up, but the result was still in doubt until Rossi controlled a long ball from Oriol in injury time to set up a quarter final tie with Sevilla.
Later in the evening Atlético Madrid capitalized on their single goal victory from the first leg, a 1-1 draw at Espanyol taking them through to the last eight. The visitors started well, Raúl García rattling the crossbar before Agüero picked up García's pass to fire a shot past Cristian Alvarez and in off the bar midway through the first half. Reyes and Diego Costa could have added to the lead before the interval, but the Catalans came back in the second half, with Luis García in particular bringing a good save out of De Gea and then hitting the bar. The veteran forward did eventually find the net with a curling free kick in the second minute of injury time, but with away goals counting double they were still two short of what they needed to go through.
Atlético will face city rivals Real Madrid next week after Mourinho's side went through 8-2 on aggregate against Levante. The Valencia based team saved some pride though with a 2-0 victory on the night, with Xisco Muñoz getting the first from the penalty spot around the hour mark after his cross had hit Gago on the arm, and Sergio adding the second with a free kick in off the crossbar with five minutes to go. With the game already decided from the first leg, both managers put out much changed sides, and the best of the action apart from the goals were a couple of saves by Adán from Rafa Jordà and Stuani, and a header from substitute Kaká against the bar later in the second half. (06.01.11)