Prospect of Clásico double moves ever closer as Madrid overcome Málaga

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Real Madrid's sturdy midfield ‘trivote’ and Málaga’s reliably hopeless attack took us all a giant leap towards two more Clásicos, starting next week. Oh joy.

A 1-0 Madrid win described by Marca as “pragmatic” and “a lesson in efficiency” came after Málaga keeper Willy Caballero spilled Karim Benzema's tame shot into his own net to help Madrid on their way to a 4-2 aggregate win. This left the Forces of Mordor with 48 hours to wait and see whether Barcelona could hang on to their 4-0 lead over Osasuna in Pamplona, and set up the second of a possible eight Clásicos in 2012.

Despite the fact Barça are these days apparently too fancy-pants to give their all on away day trips against the minnows, it’s a advantage that even the travel sick Catalans should be able to hang on to.

It was very much back to life, back to reality for Pep Guardiola on Wednesday, after being feted by FIFA at the beginning of the week. The big questions being put to the Barça boss ahead of the Osasuna clash were whether he felt the Spanish FA was out to get him after a last minute handball in the box by an Espanyol defender went unpunished in Sunday evening's derby draw, and why wasn’t he Mourinho-style mad as hell about it?

“What benefit is there in complaining? Are they going to give me points? Sometimes (decisions) are in our advantage,” said Guardiola with the kind of reasonable logic that’ll see him turned down for job after job in the ref-baiting Premier League for being far too sensible.

The two other games played in the cup on Tuesday night continued what has been a disturbingly interesting tournament this season. They were dancing in the streets of Miranda de Ebro near Burgos (up north, somewhere) after third tier Mirandés drew 1-1 at Racing Santander to seal a spot in the quarter-finals with a 3-1 aggregate win.

Mirandés will be facing either Córdoba or Espanyol - currently 2-1 to the second division outfit after the first leg - but it’s the money-spinning big boys that the Mirandés coach wants. “I prefer Espanyol as they are in la Primera,” beamed Carlos Puso.

Tuesday’s other game was an astonishing affair. Mallorca went into the clash with Real Sociedad trailing 2-0 from the first leg, a deficit which worsened when Ifrán gave La Real the lead on the night after 16 minutes. But then Mallorca went goal crazy - something that they have failed to do on a consistent basis this year - by scoring six, including four in a six minute spell in the first half. “I always said goals would come and that’s what I kept on thinking,” said Mallorca boss, Joaquín Caparrós.

Real Sociedad’s manager, meanwhile, was horrified by the enormous boot in the Balearics that his team had just taken.

“The attitude from my players hurt me a lot,” fumed Philippe Montanier. “Our elimination is incomprehensible. We didn’t respect the people of la Real, nor football, not Mallorca. I would qualify this as a lack of professionalism,” the beaten boss exclaimed in fine ‘no s**t Sherlock' fashion.