Copa del Rey

Final phase, first round first leg

Matches played on 3rd January

Barcelona dashed the hopes of lowly Zamora with a 1-3 win in their first leg match. Frank Rijkaard left most of his big names at home, and an upset could have been on the cards when the second division B side took the lead through Xaco in the fourth minute. But Van Bronckhorst ran on to Márquez's through ball to level the scores before half time, and acting centre forward Ezquerro missed a couple of chances to put his side ahead before the break. Barça dominated the second half but couldn't break through until ten minutes before the end when Márquez himself put the Catalans ahead with a well struck free kick. And four minutes later Giuly got ahead of the defence to turn Sylvinho's cross past the keeper and end any hope of another giant killing act from the minnows, who had already knocked out Real Sociedad and Eibar in previous rounds. It was a record fourteenth straight win for the visitors, who visit neighbours Espanyol at the weekend.

A late goal by David Beckham gave Real Madrid a 0-1 victory against Athletic Bilbao in the San Mamés stadium. The England captain got on the end of Robinho's cross twenty minutes from the end to fire a shot in to the roof of the net and give his side a moral boosting win. Both teams had gone close beforehand, visiting keeper Diego López (who was making his firt team debut) saving from Athletic's new signing Aduriz early on and then from an active Julen Guerrero later on, and Soldado having a goal disallowed at the other end in between. Robinho and Baptista tested Aranzubia either side of half time, and Yeste and Llorente both went close after the restart. López Caro brought on Woodgate for a run out near the end, and Beckham could have made it two had Aranzubia not kept out his late free kick. But in the end it is Madrid who hold the advantage for the second leg in a week's time.

Matches played on 4th January

Last season's cup winners Betis came back from a goal down to draw 1-1 at Celta, a result which gives them the edge for next week's second leg. Jesús Perera put the Vigo based side into the lead from the penalty spot midway through the first half after Juanito brought him down on the edge of the area, and the cup's top scorer should have had a second when Doblas saved his angled shot a couple of minutes later. Dani got the ball in the net at the other end following an Assunçao free kick but his header was ruled out for offside, and Esteban saved well from Varela before the break. The locals were left with ten men half an hour from the end when José Enrique was shown a red card for an aggressive tackle on Dani, but it wasn't until ten minutes from the end that the visitors were able to take advantage, Lequi heading Dani's speculative cross past his own keeper trying to clear. Celta coach Fernando Vázquez was also sent off after picking up a second booking for arguing.

Deportivo are almost sure of a place in the last eight after a 3-0 win over last season's beaten finalists Osasuna. With the league a higher priority, visiting coach Javier Aguirre put out a much changed side, and they went behind in only the eleventh minute when Munitis picked up a pass from Valerón to crash a long shot in off the post. New signing Arizmendi brought a good save out of Elía later in the half, and on the stroke of half time Valerón made it two when he turned a Munitis cross in on the near post. The visitors tried to fight back after the break, Gorka Brit firing a shot straight at Molina and Sergio heading a Cruchaga shot off the line with the keeper beaten. But Elía was lucky to keep out a deflected shot from Duscher soon afterwards, and five minutes from the end substitute Scaloni got his side's third goal with a spectacular shot from outside of the area.

Cádiz also took a three goal lead against neighbours Sevilla, but two late strikes from Kanouté pegged the result back to 3-2. Mirosavljevic headed the hosts into the lead from Estoyanoff's cross midway through the first half, and just two minutes later an unmarked Medina headed an Estoyanoff corner wide of Notario for the second. Raúl Navas did well to keep out a vicious shot from Adriano at the other end before the break, but Notario had to push a long Estoyanoff free kick against the bar soon afterwards, and the locals went three up a quarter of an hour in to the second half when Martí turned Jonathan Sesma's cross past his own keeper. Kanouté pulled one back from close range after Jesuli laid back a long cross, but Cádiz could have restored the three goal cushion, firstly when Notario saved from Estoyanoff and then when an attempted clearance by Alves hit his own post. But with a minute to go Kanouté headed home Adriano's cross to give keep his side's hopes alive.

Valencia are another side who have one foot in the next round after beating local rivals Villarreal 0-2 in the Madrigal stadium. Pellegrini reserved Riquelme and Forlán for the weekend game at Real Madrid and gave a run out to some of his reserve players, and the visitors took advantage to dominate the first half. Barbosa had to be at his best to keep out Villa and Mista, and Villa should have scored when he turned Albelda's cross against the post from close up with the goal at his mercy. Ten minutes after the restart the visitors took the lead when Regueiro picked up a pass from Mista and left Javi Venta for dead before beating the keeper wih an angled shot. Up to then only an effort from Figueroa had caused any problems for Butelle, and Pellegrini turned to Forlán. But soon afterwards Barbosa was sent off for bringing down Villa in the area, and the striker fired the resulting penalty past substitute keeper López Vallejo.

Espanyol also have a good advantage for the second leg after surviving a twice taken penalty at Getafe and going on to win 0-1. Both sides had chances in the first half, Gorka Iraizoz pushing a first minute header from Craioveanu around the post and Juanfran ending a good run with a weak shot straight at Calatayud. Redondo had a chance to put the locals ahead after the restart but his shot drifted just wide of the post, and Moisés headed against the bar following a corner at the other end. The turning point came though ten minutes from the end when Ito brought down Redondo in the area. Güiza fired the first spot kick over the bar, and when the referee ordered a retake for encroachment, Paunovic fired his kick even further up into the stands. A minute later the visitors won a free kick on the left of the area, and Jarque glanced a header wide of the keeper to win the match.

Match played on 11th January

Atlético Madrid and Zaragoza played out their first leg tie after the game was postponed last week due to a virus which affected almost all of the local players. It was not good news though for the home side, their 0-1 defeat signalling the end for coach Carlos Bianchi. The early chances fell to the hosts, Petrov unable to beat César and Maxi firing over the top after Ibagaza set him up. But the visitors came back with a long shot from Ponzio and an effort from Sergio García which Falcón turned away for a corner. Oscar González tested the keeper a couple of times more soon after the restart, and with just under an hour gone Ewerthon scored what was to be the only goal of the match after a quick breakaway. Bianchi eventually turned to Kezman, not fully fit after a serious knee operation, but to no avail. After long talks the following day, club president Enrique Cerezo announced that the manager had been fired and that B team coach Pepe Murcia would be taking over, for the time being at least.