No less than eleven goals on the opening day of the cup quarter finals, with Villarreal and Sevilla kicking things off with a 3-3 draw. The locals went two up in the first half hour, Cani opening the scoring after shots by Rossi and Cazorla were blocked, and Rossi adding the second with a shot following a corner which deflected in off Alexis. Negredo got one back before the break, pulling down Romaric's lofted pass before beating Juan Carlos (who had to leave the field with an injury at half time), but Marco Rubén restored the two goal lead soon after the restart with a header from Capdevila's cross. However with an hour on the clock Negredo got on the end of another assist from Romaric to head past Diego López, and Negredo and Rubén both had goals disallowed before Sevilla saved a draw, Kanouté stepping over Romaric's cross allowing Alexis to squeeze a shot past the keeper.
Later in the evening Barcelona virtually ensured their place in the semi-finals with a 5-0 victory over second division leaders Betis. The second division side held their own though, with Jorge Molina going close a couple of times early on. Villa hit the post though in the opening minutes and Casto did well to keep out Messi, Villa and Pedro before Messi picked up Iniesta's pass to lob the keeper on the stroke of half time. Rubén Castro rattled the bar though before the break and then tested Pinto a couple of times after the restart. But the legs were starting to tire, and Messi scored two more in a ten minute period midway through the second half, the first with a shot under Casto's legs after the keeper had saved his first effort, and the second after running on to Xavi's through ball. Three minutes later Pedro made it four after a good run by Dani Alves, and Keita finished things off with a far post header after Iniesta lobbed the ball over from the by-line. A brave performance by Betis, but they were up against the three best players in the World, Messi, Iniesta and Xavi, who incidentally showed off their trophies before kick off. (12.01.11)
The big match on Thursday was the clash between city rivals Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid, with the home side running out 3-1 winners in the end. Atlético scored first though, Diego Forlán finishing off in the seventh minute after Agüero was blocked by Casillas. Cristiano Ronaldo went close a couple of times soon afterwards though, and with just under a quarter of an hour gone Sergio Ramos got above his marker to head the equaliser from Di María's corner. After that De Gea had to be at his best to keep out Carvalho, Di María and Ronaldo before the interval, but Agüero sent a message that Atlético were still in it when he brought a good save out of Casillas soon after the restart. The visitors came very close to scoring again with an hour on the clock, Casillas saving again from Agüero and Forlán drilling the rebound against the post. But two minutes later Ronaldo got on the end of Özil's cross to give Madrid the lead for the first time. Atleti sat back to defend what was for them a good result, but with the game coming to an end Özil forced his way through to score his side's third, giving them the edge for next week's second leg.
Earlier in the evening Almería beat Deportivo 1-0 in their first ever quarter final match to take a big step towards a possible semi-final tie with Barcelona or Betis. Both teams started cautiously, the only chances in the first half hour falling to Lassad, Piatti and Ulloa. But with ten minutes to go to the break the locals went ahead with a stroke of fortune, Juanma Ortíz's cross hitting Rindaroy on the ankle to bounce wide of Manu. After the interval Desmarets brought a save out of Esteban with a long shot, and Lassad fired another effort against the post as Depor came looking for the away goal. Almería held on though to keep up their dream of a cup semi-final against Guardiola's mighty side, a ray of light in an otherwise disappointing season. (13.01.11)