Copa del Rey: Real Madrid, Athletic, Espanyol, Levante into last 8

Madrid, Jan 16: Cristiano Ronaldo was given the prestigious Balon D’Or award Monday night and was handed another gift as Real Madrid reached the last eight of the Copa del Rey.

Ronaldo’s 21st minute free kick should not have been a problem for Osasuna keeper, Andres Fernandez, but the normally reliable keeper for the Pamplona based side on Wednesday night allowed the ball through his legs to put Madrid ahead, Xinhua reported.

Given they had won the first leg 2-0 a week ago Osasuna needed to score an unlikely four goals to knock last year’s beaten finalists out of the competition, but reacted well and were unlucky when Alvaro Cejudo hit the Madrid post before the break.

Angel Di Maria scored after the break to give Madrid a 4-0 aggregate win in a game where a section of the home crowd demonstrated before kick-off over the high ticket prices.

Levante defeated Rayo 1-0 on the night to reach the last eight thanks to a David Barral goal.

Athletic Club Bilbao came back from a first leg defeat for the second time in two rounds as they progressed to a quarter-final tie against Atletico Madrid thanks to a 2-0 win at home to Betis.

Two goals from Mikel Rico, one in each half, saw a superior Athletic progress after a 1-0 defeat in the first leg a week ago and maintains the Basques unbeaten in their new San Mames Stadium.

Espanyol and Alcorcon produced a thrilling tie in which two goals in a five minute spell at the end of the game saw Espanyol qualify to play Real Madrid after it looked as if they would crash out to their second division rivals.

Alcorcon travelled to Barcelona on the back of a 1-0 win last week and when Oscar Plano put them ahead on Wednesday that needed Espanyol needing to score three times in order to qualify.

Simao Sabrosa and Sergio Garcia leveled the tie before the midway point of the first half, but needing to score again as a result of the away goals rule Espanyol wasted a host of chances and when Javito netted for Alcorcon with 10 minutes remaining, some home fans even began to leave their ground.

That proved to be a bad decision as first Victor Sanchez and then Pizzi scored excellent goals to turn the jeers to cheers take Espanyol into the last eight.

IANS