Real Madrid to face Atletico in Spanish cup quarter-finals

Thursday, January 6, 2011

MADRID - Real Madrid will face neighbours Atletico in the quarter-finals of the Spanish King’s Cup, as a result of Thursday’s second-round return legs.

A reserve-packed Real side lost 2-0 at Levante, but the whites went go through to the quarters because they won the first leg 8-0.

Xisco Nadal opened the scoring for Levante in the 62nd minute from the penalty spot, after Real midfielder Fernando Gago had handled in the area.

Gago was playing his first match of the season after being out injured for five months. Another player returning from injury, Brazilian Kaka, came off the bench and headed against the Levante crossbar.

Four minutes from time, veteran Sergio Gonzalez made it 2-0 for Levante with an inch-perfect free-kick into the top corner.

It was the second defeat for Real since Jose Mourinho took charge in July, the first being that humiliating 5-0 league thrashing at Barcelona.

Atletico reached the quarters Thursday with a 1-1 draw at Espanyol, whom they had beaten 1-0 in the first leg.

Sergio Aguero scored a crucial early away goal for Atletico, and Luis Garcia levelled late for Espanyol, who go out on a 3-1 aggregate.

Atletico midfielder Paulo Assuncao was taken to hospital suffering from a concussion after a clash of heads with Espanyol’s Jordi Amat. His condition is not serious, but he will have to spend the night under observation.

The first leg of the Real-Atletic tie will take place Wednesday in Real’s Estadio Bernabeu, with the return leg Jan 19 in Atletico’s Estadio Calderon.

The other quarter-finals will be Barcelona versus Betis, Almeria versus Deportivo Coruna and Villarreal versus Sevilla.

Villarreal came from behind to beat Valencia 4-2 in Thursday’s most dramatic match. The first leg had been a goalless draw.

Valencia took a 2-0 lead in Villarreal, with goals from Ever Banega and Roberto Soldado, and seemed to be cruising into the quarters. But Villarreal took command in the second half and turned the tie around thanks to two goals from Guiseppe Rossi and one apiece from Santi Cazorla and Marco Ruben.

Betis, the only second-division side left in the competition, overcame Getafe on a 4-3 aggregate.

Barcelona edged their way past Athletic Bilbao Wednesday on the away goals rule.

Almeria overcame Mallorca on an exotic 8-6 aggregate, and Deportivo came through 4-1 against second-division Cordoba. Sevilla swept past Malaga on an 8-3 aggregate.

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