Copa del Rey

First round

Matches played on 31st August

The Copa del Rey limps on, the last minute changes imposed by the ruling bodies making a mockery of the competition and provoking the smaller clubs to call for legal action and a boycott. As in previous years, this round was supposed to include first and second division clubs, with seedings allowing the minnows who survived from the qualifying round to ensure a big pay packet and a chance of glory against the top sides. But in a meeting called by the sports minister last week to try and reconcile serious differences between the federation (RFEF) and the league (LFP), the big clubs got their way and postponed their entry until the later rounds. Financial compensation was vaguely offered to the smaller teams, but with nothing concrete on the table they are seriously considering impugning the competition.

Meanwhile the show must go on, and a watered down first round was played out involving all of the second division A sides excepting the two B teams. The favourites to get through the round were the three sides relegated from the first division last season, and league leaders Numancia did so, winning 1-3 on penalties at Almería after the game ended without goals. Unlike the league match between the two sides a few days ago, it was a dull match with the only highlights the sending off of Jordi Navas for the visitors in the second half, and of Francoli and Miguel for the two sides near the end of extra time. Acasiete, Vellisca and Galca all missed penalties, as did Moreno for the visitors.

Albacete are also through after a hard fought 2-1 victory over Poli Ejido. All the goals came in the second half, Santamaría setting up half time substitute Aranda and Gato for the Manchegans and Toedtli levelling in between. Juanma was sent off for the visitors midway through the second half, but the numbers swung the other way when Luismi and David Pirri also saw red, and López Ramos came very close to equalising right at the end.

Levante are out though after a 0-1 defeat at the hands of Eibar. The Valencia based side were not happy though with referee Alvarez Izquierdo, who made Ian Harte repeat a penalty kick in the second half after he had scored the first. Imanol Exteberría saved his second attempt, and Alvarez further upset the locals when he awarded a last minute free kick to the Basque side, especially as Manolo beat Cavallero with the kick for the winning goal. Nagore was sent off for protesting at the end.

Tenerife will also not be taking any further part after losing 1-0 in extra time at Real Murcia. Here as well three players were sent off, with the home side's Urzelai getting his marching orders only a quarter of an hour in to the game. Almirón was also sent off for a second bookable offence in the last minute of normal time though to leave both sides with ten men, and in the first half of extra time Bertín was shown a red card for committing a penalty on Iván Alonso, which the Argentine striker converted himself to win the match.

Xerez beat Valladolid 4-2 on penalties after their match ended 1-1. Tote got his first goal for the visitors since his return to his old club in the summer, but Camuñas headed an equaliser a few minutes later, and with no further score the game went in to extra time. Xerez had chances to win it when Dani Pendín missed a penalty after Geijo was fouled, and soon afterwards when Granero hit the post. But justice was done when local keeper Tete saved spot kicks from Losada and Tote. Strangely, nobody was sent off!

All three of the newly promoted sides were also eliminated, with Lorca being beaten 1-2 by neighbours Ciudad Murcia. The home side had the better chances but were unable to convert them, and fell behind when Iban Espadas beat Jauregi with a low shot from outside of the area. Alex alves equalised after the break, but Luque hit the winner ten minutes from the end. The visitors ended with ten men after Raúl Medina picked up a second booking in injury time.

Castellón lost to Lleida for the second time in a few days, the 0-2 victory for the Catalans one better than they went at the weekend in the league. Carrillo started things off in the second minute after Bilic set him up, and although Ros got himself sent off after the break, Bilic made it two soon afterwards. The home side's challenge ended a few minutes later when Casablanca and then Dani Ruiz were both shown red cards.

Hércules were also beaten by Catalan opposition, the Alicante based side losing by 0-1 to Gimnastic Tarragona. Kiko Ratón almost put the locals ahead when he hit the bar on the stroke of half time, but Moso had to keep out Diego Reyes in the last minute. The game appeared to be heading for extra time until Lupidio handed it to the visitors when he put through his own net in time added on.

The cup finalists from three seasons ago Recreativo Huelva are still in after beating Elche 3-2. The visitors came from behind twice to level the scores, Raúl Ivars equalising Cheli's early strike before the break, and Alfredo making it all square after Viqueira had restored the lead with a second half free kick. But Gastón Casas came on to set up Cheli for the winner five minutes from the end.

Racing Ferrol also join the other nine winning sides and the regional qualifiers in the second round after a 2-0 victory over Sporting Gijón. Only some first class saves from visiting keeper Roberto prevented the Galicians from going ahead before the break, but Baha finally beat him midway through the second half. The striker was sent off after picking up a second booking for celebrating his goal, but even so Juan Carlos wrapped things up a few minutes later. (31.08.05)