MADRID - Atletico Madrid's miserable season took a turn for the worse when they were reduced to 10 men and beaten 3-0 at second division Recreativo Huelva in their King's Cup last-16 first-leg match on Wednesday.
Atletico's win over Sevilla last weekend had raised hopes of a revival after a woeful start to their La Liga campaign, but they were two goals behind and down to 10 men inside half an hour at a half-empty Nuevo Colombino stadium.
Bruno Fornaroli finished off a sweeping move to give the home side the lead on 14 minutes before Tomas Ujfalusi was shown a straight red card for a late challenge.
The visitors' misery deepened when teenage midfielder Cedric brought Aitor down in the penalty area and Jeronimo Barrales scored from the spot.
Recreativo, relegated to the second division at the end of last season, easily contained a toothless Atletico in the second half and Daniel Candeias added a deserved third.
The result left Atletico, 11th in La Liga, on the verge of elimination before next week's second leg at the Calderon and provoked some sharp words from coach Quique Sanchez Flores.
"It's a huge disappointment," Sanchez Flores, who was brought in to replace the sacked Abel Resino at the end of October, said at a news conference.
"As long as nothing changes it's me who is responsible but at the same time I am going to look for solutions and try to find players who don't let me down," he added.
"This season I have had more disappointments than in my whole career up to this point."
Andres Guardado and Pablo Alvarez netted potentially crucial away goals to give Deportivo La Coruna a 2-1 win at La Liga rivals Valencia, while Villarreal surrendered the lead to draw 1-1 at struggling second-tier side Celta Vigo.
Third-tier Alcorcon, who dumped Real Madrid out in the last round, fell 3-1 behind at home to Racing Santander but scored a late goal to keep alive their hopes of causing an upset.
Unai Emery's Valencia side, the 2008 winners, had the better of the early chances at the Mestalla, Joaquin and Juan Mata sending efforts flashing narrowly over the bar.
Mexican international Guardado stole in front of defender Hedwiges Maduro two minutes after halftime to steer the ball past Miguel Angel Moya and Alvarez doubled the visitors' lead with a fine run and finish.
Substitute David Silva pulled a goal back with a clever flick and Depor repelled late pressure to maintain the advantage for next week's second leg.
Defender Christian Fernandez was in the right place to head Racing into a first-half lead at Alcorcon's tiny stadium to the south west of Madrid.
Second-half strikes from Alex Geijo and Jose Moraton either side of an Inigo Lopez goal gave the visitors a cushion but Borja Gomez netted with two minutes left.
Celta's bright start in driving rain belied their position of 18th out of 22 in the second-tier standings but they were rocked back by a Villarreal goal in the 12th minute.
Cani sent Giuseppe Rossi clear and the Italian striker finished comfortably past goalkeeper Yoel Rodriguez.
Celta battled bravely and were rewarded a minute before halftime when forward Arthuro Bernhardt headed a Roberto Trashorras free kick past Villarreal keeper Diego Lopez.
Getafe play at Malaga in Thursday's only all top-flight clash and Real Mallorca and Osasuna take on second division sides Rayo Vallecano and Hercules.
Holders Barcelona slipped to a 2-1 home defeat by 2007 winners Sevilla in their first leg at the Nou Camp on Tuesday.comments