Real Madrid made it through to the semi-finals without too many problems after beating Atlético Madrid 0-1 on Thursday evening. The home side needed to score twice to overturn the 3-1 result from the first leg, and they came close to scoring early on when Reyes charged down a Casillas clearance, the ball bouncing wide of the goal. But midway through the first half Cristiano Ronaldo silenced the local crowd when he connected with a Ramos cross to beat De Gea, and a couple of minutes later Atleti (already missing the injured Agüero) were further weakened when Reyes limped off. Di María could have added a second when he was slow to react to a clever Ronaldo pass just before the break, but the locals started the second half well, Fran Mérida seeing his shot saved by Casillas and Forlán going close a couple of times. However after that the visiting keeper was hardly tested, and Marcelo, playing in a midfield role, got the ball in the net late on only to see the strike ruled out for a borderline offside. For the twentieth time in a row though Atleti were unable to beat their city rivals, and Mourinho's team go on to meet Sevilla in next week's semi-final. (20.01.11)
Barcelona will meet Almería in the semi-finals after both won through their respective ties on Wednesday evening. Barcelona had more problems than expected though against Betis, and their 28 game undefeated run came to an end after they lost 3-1 on the night to the second division leaders. Not even Betis themselves expected to get through after the 5-0 drubbing in the first leg. But they got off to a spectacular start, Jorge Molina turning in a wide Salva Sevilla free kick with just over a minute gone, and then running on to Ezequiel's through ball to score a second just six minutes later. Molina could have scored a hat-trick soon afterwards had Pinto not kept him out, and only then did Barça wake up, Keita and Affelay testing Casto a couple of times before Messi ran through to outstrip Isidoro and roll a shot under the legs of the keeper. It was an important away goal, and it seemed even more so when Arzu hooked a shot past Pinto after Milito could only head up a long free kick on the stroke of half time. Betis still needed four more though in the second half, and Messi should have made sure when he fired a penalty over the bar after Isidoro handled in the area. The locals didn't give up though, and Nacho crashed a shot against the upright after a build up which Barça themselves would have been proud of.
Barcelona's opponents will be Almería after the Andalusians beat Deportivo 2-3 in the Riazor stadium earlier in the evening. Manuel Pablo and Goitom both rattled the woodwork early on, but the visitors scored twice in a two minute period midway through the first half to add to their one goal lead from the first leg, Corona running on to Michel Macedo's cross to shoot wide of Manu, and Crusat latching on to a loose ball to fire in a shot which ballooned off Laure over the head of the keeper. Depor got one back from the penalty spot just before the break, Pablo Alvarez converting the kick after he was brought down by Crusat. And six minutes after the restart, second half substitute Adrián headed the equaliser from Laure's cross. Two more were still needed, but their hopes were dashed four minutes later when referee Iturralde González awarded a controversial penalty against them after the ball hit Rubén Pérez on the arm in the area. Goitom drilled home the spot kick to make it six wins out of six in the cup for José Luis Oltra's side, taking them through for the first time in their history to the semi-finals. (19.01.11)
Defending champions Sevilla are the first team to make it through to the semi-finals after a 3-0 victory over Villarreal on Tuesday evening. Manzano surprised everyone putting out a five man defence, with Sergio Sánchez making his first appearance since taking temporary retirement due to heart trouble. After the 3-3 result in the first leg Villarreal really needed to win, but with seven minutes on the clock they went behind, Renato finishing off from close to goal after Negredo turned Dabo's cross past Diego López. Negredo and Kanouté both failed to hit the target and Romaric brought a good save out of the keeper before the break, but Gonzalo headed against the bar for the visitors and Javi Varas did well to keep out Rossi close to half time. The Andalusians wrapped things up though in the first five minutes of the second half, Kanouté and then Alexis heading in Romaric corners to see Sevilla through to a meeting with either Real or Atlético Madrid next week. (18.01.11)