Madrid look to avoid Copa upset
The spotlight again falls on Real Madrid this week as the in-form Primera Division leaders look to avoid suffering an embarrassing
Unlike their fellow La Liga big guns Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia and Atletico Madrid, who all look certain of spots in the last 16 following their respective first legs, Real still have work to do see off the challenge of third-tier Real Murcia. The first leg finished in a 0-0 draw and few expect Real, who are unbeaten under
However, the wounds of recent upsets are still raw at the capital club having being knocked out at this stage by third-tier sides in the last two years,
"It could be that we will lose in Gijon [against Sporting next weekend] or against Murcia," Mourinho said after his side's 2-0 derby win over Atletico last night. "You never know when it will come, but when it happens it will be because our opponents have played an exceptional match. What I don't want is to gift anyone our first defeat."
Murcia go into the match having been knocked off the top of the Segunda Division B Group 4 table this weekend after suffering their first league loss of the season. Their conquerors were Ceuta, who themselves face one of La Liga's aristocracy on Wednesday as they take on Barcelona at Camp Nou. However, unlike Murcia, Ceuta appear to have little chance of causing an upset as they trail 2-0 from the first leg.
Atletico, Valencia and holders Sevilla are in even stronger positions than 25-times cup winners Barça. Atletico recorded the biggest first leg win in the round of 32 as they thumped Universidad de Las Palmas 5-0 away from home, while 2008 champions Valencia downed Logrones 3-0. Sevilla, who beat Atletico in last year's final, boast a 4-0 advantage over
There are some chances of upsets, though, and in-form Villarreal will be well aware of the threat posed by Polideportivo Ejido. Villarreal, who have won eight of their last 12 competitive matches while losing just once, were dumped out 6-1 on aggregate by Ejido in 2008 and they could only record a 1-1 draw from their first-leg meeting this time around.
Getafe, finalists in 2007 and 2008, were also held 1-1 by El Portugalete - the lowest-ranked team left in the competition. Top flight Racing Santander are possibly at the biggest risk of an upset, though, after they were beaten 2-0 at Segunda Division Cordoba. In other matches, Espanyol lead Real Valladolid 2-0, Real Zaragoza are 1-0 up on Real Betis, while Levante boast a 3-2 advantage over Xerez and Athletic Bilbao narrowly lead Alcorcon 1-0.
In the all-Primera Division ties, Almeria lead 3-2 against Real Sociedad having trailed 2-0 with 23 minutes remaining in the first leg, Deportivo La Coruna are locked at 1-1 with Osasuna, Real Mallorca are 3-1 up against Sporting Gijon and Malaga drew their first leg with Hercules 0-0.
The second leg of that match should see Malaga under the guidance of new coach