Holders Zaragoza, Barcelona, Valencia exit Cup
Holders Real Zaragoza, league leaders
Barcelona, champions Valencia and high-flying Espanyol all fell victim
away to lower-ranked opponents in a night of upsets in the King's Cup on
A weakened Barca, missing the influential Ronaldinho and Deco, lost
their first domestic game of the season in a shock 1-0 extra-time defeat
by third division Gramenet.
The modest Catalan side produced a combative defensive display to keep
their illustrious neighbours at bay and force the game into the extra
Midfielder Olles became the hero of the night when he made the most of a
mometary lapse in the Barca defence to crack home the winner in the 98th
"We took the game very seriously and I cannot fault the attitude of my
players," said Barca coach Frank Rijkaard.
"We had a stack of scoring chances but the ball just wouldn't go in the
net and I have to congratulate Gramenet for such a good tactical
Nine-man Zaragoza slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Gimnastic, Espanyol lost
5-3 on penalties to Terrassa and Claudio Ranieri's Valencia were dealt
their fourth defeat in a row when they also lost to a second division
side by going down 1-0 at Lleida.
Atletico Madrid, Real Sociedad and Numancia all had an easier time with
comfortable wins over third division opponents.
Real Madrid had already made it safely through to the second round on
Tuesday, England striker Michael Owen scoring his third goal in as many
games to help his side clinch a 2-1 win over third division neighbours
Zaragoza, who claimed a dramatic 3-2 extra-time victory over Real Madrid
in last year's final, got off to a dreadful start against Gimnastic when
striker Antonio Pinilla scored from a rebound after just two minutes.
Pinilla's substitute Fernando made it 2-0 after the break and the
situation worsened for Zaragoza when they were reduced to nine men after
centre-backs Alvaro and Gabriel Milito were dismissed in quick
succession for picking up second bookings.
Midfielder Albert Zapater pulled one back in injury time, but it was
scant consolation for the holders who have been eliminated in the first
round on five occasions the season after winning the Cup.
Valencia boss Ranieri will find himself under increased pressure after
watching a second-string side produce a lame performance against Lleida
who were the better team throughout.
Midfielder Albert Crusat scored the winner 16 minutes from time when he
outpaced the defence, beat keeper Anders Palop to the ball and looped a
deflected shot into the empty net.
Espanyol, fourth in the Primera Liga, were the victims of the first
upset when they lost 5-3 on penalties to Terrassa, who held their
opponents to a goalless draw despite playing much of the second half and
all of extra-time with just 10 men.