Copa del Rey

Final phase, quarter final first leg

Matches played on 18th January

New signing Antonio Cassano scored a controversial goal within two minutes of coming on as substitute to give Real Madrid a 0-1 win at Betis. The Italian striker was brought on for his debut half hour from the end of the first leg tie, and almost immediately gave a gentle nudge to Doblas as he prepared to clear a high deflection. The keeper misdirected his punch and the ball hit Sergio Ramos and fell to the forward, who tapped it in to the net from close up. Before that the hosts had been the closer to scoring, Tardelli having a header cleared and Dani having a long shot saved by Diego López, who injured himself in the action and had to be replaced by Casillas. Baptista curled a free kick wide of the post, but Capi could have put the Andalusians ahead with a spectacular volley from outside of the area before the break. Cicinho headed a Capi header off the line after the restart as well, but in the end it was to be "Talentino"'s night.

A first goal as well for Espanyol new boy Walter Pandiani, who opened the scoring for his side in their 0-2 victory at Cádiz. The first half had been pretty even, Iraizoz saving from Oli and Estoyanoff in the opening minutes and De Quintana turning Zabaleta's cross against the upright at the other end a few minutes later. The visiting keeper stopped another effort from Pavoni, and Fredson and Pandiani both headed wide before the break. Just five minutes after the restart though, Pandiani got on the end of Juanfran's cross to turn the ball past Navas, and Fredson wrapped things up with a shot from the edge of the area just two minutes from the end. It could have been much different though if De Quintana had not missed from a yard out soon after Pandiani's goal.

Match played on 19th January

A hotly disputed penalty in the second half of the game gave Deportivo a 1-0 win over Valencia. Both teams put out strong sides, and either could have scored in an active first half. Guzman 's long shot was turned around the post by Mora on the quarter hour mark, and Molina saved well from Regueiro at the other end a few minutes later. Shortly before half time the home side were left with ten men when Duscher was sent off for a two footed tackle on Raúl Albiol, but the visitors were unable to take advantage after the break, their best efforts a double save by Molina from Regueiro, David Villa rolling the rebound just past the far post. With twelve minutes to go though referee Iturralde González decided that Carboni had pulled Capdevila back by the shirt and awarded a penalty which Sergio gratefully tucked away.

Match played on 26th January

Barcelona's winning run has finally come to an end after 18 games, but they still have a chance of reaching the semi-finals after losing 4-2 to Zaragoza in the first leg, which was played a week late due to delays in previous rounds. Frank Rijkaard left Puyol and Valdés out of his line up and paid the price when the home side scored three times in a five minute period midway through the first half. Diego Milito got the first after running on to Cani's through ball to poke a shot past Jorquera, and the reserve keeper pushed a shot from Ewerthon back in to his own net two minutes later. Ewerthon helped himself to a third after Cani put him through on a quick breakaway almost immediately, but Larsson headed one back from Gio's cross just before the break. Ronaldinho closed the gap to one goal when he converted a rigorous second half penalty after Messi fell under a challenge from Ponzio, and Messi and Ezquerro both went close as the visitors pushed for the equaliser. However Diego Milito gave his side the edge in the tie when he converted a second penalty after Edmilson handled Cuartero's cross in injury time, confirming Barcelona's first defeat in 24 matches.