Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno
Malaga has a real shot of knocking out Barcelona and spoiling an El Clasico semifinal matchup. We preview that match and the rest of the quarterfinal second leg matches.
The Copa del Rey Thunderdome cage match continues as this week, eight teams will enter but only four will leave. The biggest story coming out of the first leg was Malaga's stoppage time goal that earned them a 2-2 draw against Barcelona. More important than even the scoreline is the advantage of having two away goals should that be called upon as a tiebreaker after 90 minutes of Thursday.
Getting a good result will still be a challenge for Malaga as Barcelona have had two really poor performances in a row, including suffering their first league loss over the weekend. It's hard to imagine the Blaugrana will stumble for a third straight match but anything is possible. Should Malaga finish the job, it would of course rob us of another two-leg El Clasico, something that a section fo the soccer watching public would probably be fine with. For the rest us, we'd have a quick cry in our beverages because there's nothing more fun than an El Clasico.
There are three others matches of course. Real Madrid have one foot in the semifinals after thumping Valenica in the first leg. They beat them even worse over the weekend (5-0) but how often have we seen teams fail to be able to beat the same opponent three times in a row? Madrid are still the favorites and will probably advance but given Valencia's horrible week (two losses and the club being taken over by the regional government for defaulting on loan interest payments), maybe than get pull off the shocking upset.
Sevilla and Zaragoza lulled everyone to sleep in the first leg but I suspect things will be better in the second leg. Hard to pick a favorite really but I'll go with Sevilla since they're playing at home. Finally, Real Betis has a hill to climb against Atletico Madrid after falling 2-0 in the first leg. Not sure how committed to this match Betis will be since finishing in fourth place in the league, where they currently sit, might be more important to them. If Falcao can't go with his hamstring injury, you never know what might happen.
Schedule (Aggregate Score- Day/Time)
Sevilla 0-0 Real Zaragoza - Wednesday, 1:30pm ET
Valencia 0-2 Real Madrid. - Wednesday, 3:30pm ET
Real Betis 0-2 Atletico Madrid - Thursday, 2:00pm ET
Malaga 2-2 Barcelona - Thursday, 4:00pm ET