Six ties in the Spanish cup tonight, with a couple of surprises as two second division sides made it through to the last sixteen. Córdoba were one of those after drawing 2-2 at Real Sociedad, their 2-0 victory in the first leg virtually ensuring them a fifth round meeting with Barcelona (Alavés permitting!). Griezmann put the Basque side back in the tie after picking up a long ball from Rubén Pardo five minutes before half time, but twenty minutes after the restart Kiko Olivas equalized with a header from a wide free kick, and any hope that the locals had of turning things around ended when Dubarbier scored a second for the Andalusians on a rapid counter-attack. Agirretxe made it all square on the night from an Estrada cross, but there was no way they were ever going to score three more to make this a contest.
Las Palmas are also through after drawing 0-0 at Rayo Vallecano, again a 1-0 first leg victory ensuring them their place in the next round. Curiously Rayo had a goalkeeper sent off in each leg, with Rubén getting his marching orders this time around for handling outside of the area as Crisantus advanced on goal midway through the second half. Otherwise though the locals hardly managed a shot on target all evening, the closest an effort from Labaka early on and a late Trashorras free kick which went wide. Thievy was a constant menace for the visitors, and Momo also tested Rubén before his dismissal.
The Canary Islanders will now meet Betis after Pepe Mel's side overturned a first leg 0-1 defeat to knock out Valladolid 3-1 on aggregate. Amaya leveled the tie with a header following a corner before the break, but it was not until the introduction of Vadillo on the hour mark that the game came alight. The youngster was making his first appearance after a year-long injury lay-off, but within a minute of coming on he set up Rubén Castro for his side's second, and a few minutes later Jesús Rueda turned Vadillo's cross past his own keeper trying to clear.
Osasuna also overcame a one goal deficit to beat Sporting Gijón 2-0 on the night. The locals had the better of the first half, with Owmu hitting the post and Cuéllar making a string of saves. However the goals didn't come until the last twenty minutes, Omwu assisting Llorente to open the scoring, and Rubén taking advantage of some shaky defending to get the second five minutes later. It was a fourth game in a row for the Pamplona based side without letting in a goal, and they go on to a probable meeting with Valencia in the last sixteen.
Later in the evening Real Madrid cruised through 3-0 against Alcoyano, although it was a flattering scoreline after the second division B side held off their hosts until late in the game. A 1-4 victory in Alcoy virtually ensured Madrid's passage to the next round, and Mourinho put out a line up packed with youngsters and reserve players. However in the end he had to bring on his big guns to settle things, substitutes Benzema and Di María combining for the Argentinian midfielder to put his side ahead with twenty minutes to go. The visitors found themselves down to ten men when Javi Selvas was shown a second yellow card for his protests about the goal, and Özil and then Di María put Callejón through to add two more in the last couple of minutes.
Málaga had serious problems however beating Cacereño, Pellegrini's team only going through on the away goal rule after losing 0-1 to the second division B side in their Rosaleda stadium. The coach has a poor track record in this competition, losing to Poli Ejido and Alcorcón when he was in charge of Villarreal and Real Madrid respectively, but he felt confident enough to put out a much changed team after the 3-4 victory in the first leg. However Chapi got on the end of a Santi Amaro free kick to give the Extremadurans the lead shortly before half time, and Kameni had to make a couple of key saves after that to ensure a fifth round tie against either Athletic Bilbao or Eibar. (27.11.12)
No real surprises in the six cup ties on Wednesday, although Levante only turned around their match against Melilla in the last half an hour after the North African second division B side had scored an important away goal. Nikos put Juan Ignacio Martínez's side in front after Volta headed on Michel's free kick midway through the first half, but just two minutes later Chota beat Keylor Navas following a corner to equalize. The Valencia based side needed two goals then to turn things around, but B team striker Roger came on to almost immediately head past Dorronsoro to restore the lead, and Michel made it three with a well struck free kick soon afterwards. With five minutes to go Iborra rounded off a 4-1 scoreline from the penalty spot after Andrés Sánchez was sent off for bringing down Roger, and although numbers were evened up when Michel also picked up a second booking, there was no time left for the visitors to react.
Levante's neighbours Valencia had no problems seeing off Llagostera, a 3-1 victory on the night taking through 5-1 on aggregate. Pellegrino's side wrapped things up with only a quarter of an hour on the clock, Rami catching Moragón off his line with a shot from inside his own half. Nelson Váldez headed the second from a Dani Parejo corner some twelve minutes in to the second half, and Bernat got the third after a rapid team move with a quarter of an hour to go. The Catalans did get a late consolation when Nico beat Guaita with an angled shot near the end, but the Ches will be going through to play Osasuna, who by chance they also meet in the league the weekend before.
Barcelona were virtually ensured a place in the fifth round after a 0-3 first leg victory at Alavés, but they still had to overcome an early goal by the visitors before winning 3-1 on the night. Vilanova rested Messi, Xavi and Iniesta, but he still put out a strong line-up against the historic second division B side, who currently head their regional division. But even so "El Glorioso" took the lead, Viguera losing his marker to head in Miki's cross on the quarter hour mark. Adriano combined with Thiago however to equalize before the break, and soon after the restart Villa put the Catalans ahead with an impressive free kick, the 300th goal of his professional career. Referee Velasco Carballo ruled out a strike by Miki for a non-existent offside a couple of minutes later, but a minute after that Villa put an end to proceedings with his second of the night after Tello unselfishly set him up.
Just down the road though Espanyol were beaten 0-3 by Sevilla, and it seems new coach Javier Aguirre has some work to do if he is to turn things around in Cornellà. Already 3-1 down from the first leg, the Catalans went further behind when Perotti converted a penalty after Javi López was sent off for bringing down Babá on the edge of the area in the 25th minute. And either side of half time the visitors added two more to complete the rout, Rakitic turning a shot past Kiko Casilla after Navas laid the ball across, and Babá getting the third with an overhead kick after Rakitic played the ball in to the area.
Meanwhile city rivals Atlético Madrid and Getafe will meet in the next round after both won through their respective ties. A 0-3 victory at Real Jaén in the first leg gave Atlético Madrid coach Simeone the opportunity to give a run out to youngsters Manquillo, Saúl and Oliver Torres, and a 1-0 win on the night took them through without too many problems. The only goal came early on, Raúl García beating Manu with a shot from outside of the area on the quarter hour mark, although the Andalusians did give Sergio Asenjo some work to do before the final whistle.
Getafe were also defending a good lead from the first leg, in their case 0-4 against Ponferradina, and they shut up shop to ensure a goal-less draw and a place in the last sixteen. It was a lifeless match though, both coaches using the occasion to give a game to little used players. Chances were few and far between, with Sarabia bringing the best save of the evening out of Orlando before the break, and Iván Moreno hitting the post for the visitors with a quarter of an hour to go. (28.11.12)
A thrilling match in the Balaidos stadium on Thursday evening, hosts Celta turning around a 2-0 first leg defeat against Almería with a 3-0 victory which sees them through to meet Real Madrid in the fifth round. Park Chu-Young headed one back from an Augusto Fernández cross early in the second half, but an excellent Diego García kept the Galicians out after that, and it wasn't until the second minute of injury time that Roberto Lago squared the tie following an Iago Aspas corner. That flattened the second division side, whose challenge ended when Aarón got himself sent off in extra time, and De Lucas won it with a third goal after Toni set him up with twelve minutes to go.
Zaragoza are also in to the last sixteen on the away goal rule despite a 2-1 defeat at Granada, and their opponents next time around will be Levante. Ighalo put the Andalusians in front on the night with a shot which took a deflection off Loovens, cancelling out the visitors' first leg lead. However José Marí equalized some ten minutes after the break with a first time volley from Helder Postiga's cross, the away goal meaning that the Andalusians had to score two more to qualify. With half an hour to go Postiga got himself sent off for diving in the area, but although Mainz headed the locals back in front from a Dani Benítez corner, the Maños held on to go through.
Later in the evening Mallorca and Deportivo played out a fairly event-less 0-0 draw, a result which takes the islanders through on the away goal to face Sevilla in a fortnight's time. Both managers have other priorities right now though, and neither team really took the game seriously. The only player to shine was Pizzi, who tested Aouate a couple of times, although Bodipo could have won it for the Galicians had he been able to beat the keeper in the dying minutes. (29.11.12)
Last season's runners up Athletic Bilbao have been dumped out of the competition by their second division B neighbours Eibar! The tie was postponed from two weeks ago to allow Athletic to play a rescheduled Europa League game, and with the first leg ending without goals Bielsa's side needed a win to go through. However Eibar keeper Irureta didn't have a shot to save until Ander Herrera tested him on the hour mark, and ten minutes later the visitors went ahead with an Arruabarrena penalty after Amorebieta brought down Mainz in the area. With away goals counting double, Athletic needed to score twice, but although Aduríz headed in an Ibai Gómez free kick with two minutes to go, there was no time left for any more. Eibar will now meet Málaga in the fifth round, with the first leg programmed for next Tuesday. (12.12.12)