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  -   NEWS
Thursday, January 17, 2002
Third Division Figueres make history

MADRID (Reuters) - Figueres became the first third division side to reach the semi-finals of Spain's King's Cup when a goalless draw at home to Cordoba earned them a 2-0 aggregate win in a tense quarter-final.

Figueres, who beat Barcelona in the second round to produce the first big shock of this season's competition, made it through to the last four despite second division Cordoba having almost all the possession in the second leg.

The tiny Catalan club were joined in the semi-finals by Real Madrid, who went down 1-0 at Rayo Vallecano in their quarter-final second leg but were never really threatened as they completed a 4-1 aggregate win.

Deportivo Coruna also made it through after a much tougher second leg at Valladolid. They needed a penalty from Diego Tristan in the second period of extra-time to clinch a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Depor had their 2-0 lead from the first leg wiped out inside 36 minutes as Valladolid struck through a Fernando header and a poacher's goal from Mario and the favourites were in serious trouble when they had Enrique Romero sent off on 98 minutes.

Javier Irureta's side produced their best football after being reduced to 10 men, though, and they clinched victory as Walter Pandiani was brought down in the box and Tristan stepped up to convert the spotkick.

Pandiani received his second yellow card two minutes from time but Irureta's nine-man team managed to hold on.

The semi-final line-up is completed by Athletic Bilbao who eased through with a 3-0 aggregate win over Villarreal on Tuesday.

Cordoba's best chance to force their way back against Figueres fell in first-half injury-time when a full-blooded Jose Carlos Soria strike from close range was well saved by the goalkeeper.

They renewed their attack after the break but a second yellow card for Daniel Lopez Ramos after 58 minutes gave their opponents vital breathing space and they held out to complete a famous win.

Real Madrid moved a step closer to the first piece of silverware of their centenary season despite defeat in a game that offered precious little in the way of entertainment.

Rayo had a brief flurry at the start but a Real side that featured just five first-team regulars managed to kill the game off.

Roberto Peragon's neat finish from a long ball over the top two minutes into second-half injury-time was at least reward for all Rayo's hard work.

 


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