Defending champions Real Madrid are already out of the cup! Ancelotti’s side could only draw 2-2 against city rivals Atlético Madrid on Thursday evening, and with the first leg ending 2-0 Atleti go through! Fernando Torres was brought into the starting line-up as Mandzukic was down with flu, and with less than a minute on the clock he got on the end of Griezmann’s cross to put the visitors ahead, his first goal since rejoining the club, and his first ever in the Bernabeu stadium. Soon afterwards though Oblak had to be at his best to keep out Cristiano Ronaldo (who had presented his “Balon d’Or” trophy to the crowd before kick off), and a few minutes later Sergio Ramos got above the defence to head in a wide Kroos free kick. The Atlético back four were giving it their all though, Godín clearing off the line from Ronaldo and Juanfran blocking another shot from striker, and incredibly Torres repeated his scoring act after the break, picking up another Griezmann assist to round Pepe and fire a shot under Keylor Navas, again with less than a minute gone. Ronaldo leveled it again with a header from a Bale cross, but after that Simeone closed the game down to deal another blow to the old enemy.
Atlético’s rivals in the quarter finals will be Barcelona, who added to their first leg 5-0 win against Elche with a 0-4 victory later in the evening. Luis Enrique left all of his big names at home, but the replacements were more than enough to see off their opponents, Adriano missing an easy chance before Mathieu curled a long free kick past Manu Herrera into the top corner of the net. Adama drove a shot just wide soon afterwards, and with five minutes to go to the break Sergi Roberto picked up a short pass from Montoya and fired an angled shot wide of the keeper for the second. With the first half coming to a close Pedro made it three from the penalty spot after Albácar brought down Munir in the area. And although Cristian Herrera missed chances either side of half time, substitute Halilovic hit the post before Adriano wrapped things up, the Brazilian full back heading in a Douglas cross with the game already in injury time. (15.01.15)
The line-up for three of the four quarter finals is now complete after Wednesday night’s games. Sevilla will meet Espanyol after a comfortable 4-0 win over regional rivals Granada, the tie not really in much doubt after their 1-2 victory in the first leg. Any hopes the visitors had though were dissipated when Gameiro turned a Fernando Navarro cross past Roberto with twenty minutes gone, and Denis Suárez headed a good chance wide before Iago Aspas looped a back-header over the keeper from a Deulofeu free kick to make it two with less than half an hour gone. Some ten minutes in to the second half Gameiro picked up a throw-in on the left of the area and cut in to fire ina low shot which Roberto let into the net on the near post, and Denis Suárez got the fourth, steering a shot under the legs of a defender after Gameiro laid the ball back from the right.
On the same side of the draw Athletic Bilbao will play Málaga after they won through against Celta on the away goal rule. It was only just though, a 2-4 victory in the first league seemingly more than enough, but the Galicians battling back to win 0-2 in the San Mamés stadium. Youngster Iñaki Williams did go close for the locals early on, but Herrerín had to save from Santi Mina and Orellana before the break, and some six minutes into the second half Etxeita looped the ball over his own keeper trying to cut out Mina’s cross. With an hour on the clock Orellana converted a penalty after Mikel Rico tripped Charles in the area, and Valverde resorted to Aduríz and Susaeta, who both tested Rubén Blanco later on. The tie was in the balance right up to the final whistle though, and the frustrated local fans booed their players off the park after another disappointing performance.
Villarreal and Getafe face off in the third quarter final, Marcelino’s side drawing 2-2 at Real Sociedad in a thrilling match, but going through thanks to the 1-0 win in the first leg. Visiting keeper Rulli had to save from a Trigueros volley before Gerard Moreno beat him with an angled shot midway through the first half, but with half time approaching Carlos Vela equalized after Asenjo could only push out Agirretxe’s header following a corner. Rulli did well to keep out a Musacchio header after the restart though, and Giovani restored the lead for the visitors with twenty minutes to go, forcing his way through to beat Rulli after a long throw-in was headed on. Just two minutes later Granero made it all square again with an impressive volley from Vela’s return pass, and local coach David Moyes was red-carded soon afterwards for suggesting that maybe the referee should have gone to a well known chain of opticians after Finnbogason was pulled up for a dubious offside! However despite having Musacchio sent off for a second bookable offence, Villarreal held on to end Real’s participation in the cup this year.
Getafe meanwhile beat Almería 1-0, and they go through to the quarter finals after the 1-1 draw in the first leg. Both of the new coaches had other things on their minds, and they put out squads packed with reserve and junior players. Teerasil brought an early save out of Jonathan in the local goal, and Alexis and Ximo Navarro both headed over before the break. After the restart Wellington Silva tested Jonathan again and Julián did well to save from Alvaro Vázquez, but with a quarter of an hour to go Julián could only push out a lob from Emi Buendía after Sarabia put him through, and Vázquez was on hand to pick up the rebound and score. An away goal would still have taken the tie into extra time, but although Thomas and Dos Santos tried their luck, they were unable to find the route to the net. (14.01.15)
A bit of a surprise in the first game of the second leg ties, Valencia knocked out of the competition after losing 2-0 at Espanyol. The Ches were defending a 2-1 lead from the first leg, but they found themselves down to ten men with less than a quarter of an hour gone when Mustafi lost the ball to Sergio García in front of goal and then brought down the striker in his attempt to recover. Nuno pulled his team back to defend the result, Yoel having to save from Duarte and Stuani and Víctor Alvarez both failing to find the target in a hectic first half. As the game progressed it appeared that Valencia were going to achieve their objective, but with ten minutes to go substitute Caicedo bravely challenged Yoel to Salva Sevilla’s free kick, and although he got a fist in the face he managed to head the ball in to the net. With Espanyol’s away goal in the first leg putting them in front, the visitors were forced come forward, and with a minute or so to go Caicedo picked up Arbilla’s cross on a quick counter-attack to take the Catalans go on to a quarter final tie against Sevilla or Granada.
Valencia’s city neighbours Levante are also eliminated after they lost 4-3 on aggregate to Málaga. Already two up from a week ago, the Andalusians appeared to have wrapped things up by half time after scoring two more, Horta running on to Samuel’s pass to drive a low shot inside Jesús’s near post, and then Recio connecting with Juanmi’s cross to beat the keeper once again. Pedro López and Héctor Rodas went close for the locals either side of the break, but Juanmi missed an easy header early on in the second half which would have ended the contest. The introduction of Barral and Xumetra inspired the home side however, Barral in particular scoring twice in as many minutes, the first after Rodas headed on a corner, and the second with a quick turn past Filipenko after controlling a cross from Rubén García. Juanfran added a third after Barral headed on a corner with seven minutes to go, and an epic comeback was in sight. However Barral then got himself sent off after picking up a second booking for pushing the ball into the net with his hand, and Málaga go through to meet either Athletic Bilbao or Celta in the next round. (13.01.15)