Prospect of Clásico double moves ever closer as Madrid overcome Málaga
Real Madrid's sturdy midfield Ã¢ÂÂtrivoteÃ¢ÂÂ and MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs reliably hopeless attack took us all a giant leap towards two more ClÃÂ¡sicos, starting next week. Oh joy.
A 1-0 Madrid win described by Marca as Ã¢ÂÂpragmaticÃ¢ÂÂ and Ã¢ÂÂa lesson in efficiencyÃ¢ÂÂ came after MÃÂ¡laga 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 ClÃÂ¡sicos in 2012.
Despite the fact BarÃÂ§a are these days apparently too fancy-pants to give their all on away day trips against the minnows, itÃ¢ÂÂs 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 BarÃÂ§a 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 wasnÃ¢ÂÂt he Mourinho-style mad as hell about it?
Ã¢ÂÂWhat benefit is there in complaining? Are they going to give me points? Sometimes (decisions) are in our advantage,Ã¢ÂÂ said Guardiola with the kind of reasonable logic thatÃ¢ÂÂll 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 MirandÃÂ©s drew 1-1 at Racing Santander to seal a spot in the quarter-finals with a 3-1 aggregate win.
MirandÃÂ©s will be facing either CÃÂ³rdoba or Espanyol - currently 2-1 to the second division outfit after the first leg - but itÃ¢ÂÂs the money-spinning big boys that the MirandÃÂ©s coach wants. Ã¢ÂÂI prefer Espanyol as they are in la Primera,Ã¢ÂÂ beamed Carlos Puso.
TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs 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 IfrÃÂ¡n 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. Ã¢ÂÂI always said goals would come and thatÃ¢ÂÂs what I kept on thinking,Ã¢ÂÂ said Mallorca boss, JoaquÃÂn CaparrÃÂ³s.
Real SociedadÃ¢ÂÂs manager, meanwhile, was horrified by the enormous boot in the Balearics that his team had just taken.
Ã¢ÂÂThe attitude from my players hurt me a lot,Ã¢ÂÂ fumed Philippe Montanier. Ã¢ÂÂOur elimination is incomprehensible. We didnÃ¢ÂÂt respect the people of la Real, nor football, not Mallorca. I would qualify this as a lack of professionalism,Ã¢ÂÂ the beaten boss exclaimed in fine Ã¢ÂÂno s**t Sherlock' fashion.