Real Madrid faces must-win match in Copa del Rey

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Associated Press

Posted on November 8, 2010 at 8:02 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 8 at 8:05 AM

MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho faces his first must-win game when the Spanish leaders play third-tier Murcia for a return leg Wednesday in the Copa del Rey.

Murcia held Madrid to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the fourth round two weeks ago and now could embarrass the Portuguese coach in his first season in Spain.

Madrid, a 17-time champion, needs to progress to erase the memories of last season's domestic cup debacle, when Alcorcon eliminated the club at this stage 4-1 aggregate.

"You never know when the day of the first defeat is going to come," Mourinho said after Sunday's 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid. "It's got to come someday, but we're not going to gift it."

Madrid is off to its third-best start in league history and is top of its Champions League group. Still, the club finds itself in a precipitous position in the domestic cup competition, which it hasn't won since 1993.

"We're a team — not a perfect team, far from it," Mourinho said. "But in this moment we are a team and I'm happy."

Also, record 25-time champion Barcelona holds a 2-0 advantage against Ceuta. Coach Pep Guardiola involved six "B'' team players in training on Monday and is likely to give most of his regulars a rest on Wednesday — as he did in the first leg.

Defending champion Sevilla has a dominant 4-0 lead over Real Union, Atletico Madrid won 5-0 over Universidad de Las Palmas and Valencia has a 3-0 lead on Logrones.

Racing Santander is the only topflight club facing a deficit against lower league opposition as it looks to overturn a 2-0 result against second-division Cordoba.

"After our recent results I think we have a great chance to overcome the deficit," Santander coach Miguel Angel Portugal said. "The first leg was a fiasco. But we know the importance of this game and I think we can come back at home."

Villarreal, which is third in the league, will need an improved performance against Poli Ejido following a 1-1 draw in the first leg.

Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini looks to get his club going in the Copa del Rey, where it plays Hercules after a 0-0 draw in the first leg. Pellegrini will be on the sidelines for the first time Thursday after watching Saturday's 1-0 loss to Espanyol.

Also, in the first leg, it was: Mallorca 3, Sporting Gijon 1; Portugalete 1, Getafe 1; Xerez 2, Levante 3; Valladolid 0, Espanyol 2; Real Betis 0, Zaragoza 1; Alcorcon 0, Athletic Bilbao 1; Osasuna 1, Deportivo La Coruna 1; and Real Sociedad 2, Almeria 3.

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