Real Madrid vs. Valencia  2 - 0

Article

Soldado: Real guilty of influencing refs

16 January 2013 06:46

Valencia's Roberto Soldado has blamed Real Madrid for what he calls "wrong" decisions made by match officials in the Copa del Rey.

The Spain international was adjudged to have been offside on a number of occasions when replays suggested otherwise during Valencia's 2-0 defeat in the quarter-final first leg at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.

Soldado believes comments from the club before the game were detrimental to the officials' performances, and said Jose Mourinho's side have an unfair influence on the Spanish game.

"It's difficult to come to the Bernabeu and see all those mistakes made by referees and linesmen," Soldado told reporters.

"In Valencia we have been silent. They (Madrid) complain a lot about the referees and there is the result.

"Referees can be wrong once, but should not be so much (as tonight). And it makes you wonder. They don't want to withstand the pressure of being wrong against Real Madrid.

"If it has served them to talk all this week then I think there are institutes that should control their statements. Statements that come from Real Madrid nowadays do not benefit the sport."

The two teams meet again for the second leg of the quarter-final at Estadio Mestalla on January 20.

Article

Casillas takes heart from Cup progress

16 January 2013 06:33

Iker Casillas says Real Madrid's performances in the Copa del Rey are helping to ease the pain of their La Liga struggles.

Karim Benzema's strike and a Jose Guardado own-goal saw Real run out 2-0 winners over Valencia in their quarter-final first leg on Tuesday.

Jose Mourinho's team may consider themselves fortunate to come out on top after being outplayed by the visitors for much of the contest at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Casillas, however, preferred to focus on a confidence-boosting clean sheet, before conceding that a potential semi-final against Barcelona or Malaga will be tough.

"Playing the first leg at home, it was important to keep a clean sheet," the Spain goalkeeper told reporters after the victory.

"Valencia are a tough team and I am convinced that the return leg will be difficult. Our performance suffered, but the result is excellent.

"We have a complicated route in the Copa and we know it. If we qualify, we have a hypothetical clash with Barcelona or Malaga, which is fine.

"But the victory gives us confidence and helps us to forget the pain of our league form."

Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka then defended the match officials - who had been criticised for several dubious offside decisions - before admitting the result could easily have gone in Valencia's favour.

"There were two offsides, and from neither of them did Valencia score," he said.

"So you can't talk about the opponents being affected by these bad calls by the referee.

"In previous matches, bad decisions by referees had a direct impact on the result. This didn't happen tonight.

"But the result could have been different, both teams had many chances to score."

Article

Copa del Rey: Real Madrid win against odds

16 January 2013 00:04

Real Madrid secured a 2-0 lead in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final with Valencia on Tuesday night at the Bernabeu.

Valencia may have put in a committed display in the Spanish capital but it was Real who emerged on top through goals either side of half-time as Karim Benzema initially put the hosts ahead against the run of play before an Andres Guardado own goal secured the first leg.

After two early Cristiano Ronaldo free kicks flew wide in the opening seven minutes, Madrid's clearest chance fell to Luka Modric, but the Croatian midfielder also somehow contrived to shoot narrowly wide.

Having been let off the hook, Valencia lifted their intensity and took control of possession although Madrid did manage to fashion another good chance in the 28th minute as Ronaldo played in Mesut Ozil.

However the young German midfielder was denied by a good last-ditch tackle from Pablo Piatti.

The visitors bounced back with two decent chances for Jonas, one of which was only kept out by a magnificent reaction save from Iker Casillas, but the misses proved costly as Benzema gave Jose Mourinho's side the lead against the run of play.

Eight minutes from half-time a swift counterattack finished with Sami Khedira putting a first-time pass into the path of Benzema, who then guided the ball into the bottom corner.

The visitors continued to press after the break, producing some adventurous football that forced Jose Mourinho's men to defend in numbers.

Valencia let a good chance to equalise slip in the 50th minute as Victor Ruiz nodded over the bar, despite beating Casillas to a cross into the box, while Jonas shot wide in the 66th minute with an open goal beckoning.

And, having missed their opportunities, Valencia fell further behind as Fabio Coentrao raced to the byline to cut back, leading to the ball being bundled into the net by a combination of Guardado and Gonzalo Higuain, although the Mexican appeared to take the last touch.

Valverde was sent to the stands by the referee in the aftermath of the goal, but Vicente Guaita halted things from getting worse as he denied Ronaldo with two brilliant saves in the closing stages.

As a result, Mourinho's men only take a 2-0 advantage into the second leg at the Mestalla in a fortnight.

Article

Banega eyes Real victory

15 January 2013 16:47

Valencia midfielder Ever Banega says his side will have to be at their best if they are to beat the out of form Real Madrid on Sunday.

The reigning La Liga champions were roundly criticised for their display during Saturday's scoreless draw with cellar-dwellers Osasuna.

Jose Mourinho's side are 18 points behind leaders Barcelona in third position, after just one win from their past four games.

However, Banega believes Valencia will have to remain focused if they are to claim their first win against the Spanish giants since May 2009.

"Madrid are Madrid and anyone who beats them does well, but we have to focus on our game and not rely on what they do," said Banega, who will also face Madrid in their Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg on Tuesday.

"We're good. We have won several games in a row and the team is doing well, with sacrifice and hard work, and now we face the first game against Madrid, which is a good time to know where we are."

The Argentina international has returned to action this season after eight months out injured with a broken leg, but said he hasn't dwelled on the problem since regaining his fitness.

"I forgot about the injury," he said. "When jumping onto the pitch I do not think about it or play with fear.

"I simply try to do well and strive for the good of the team."

Fans of Valencia have regularly protested against president Manuel Llorente after a number of seemingly poor decisions, especially the sacking of coach Mauricio Pellegrino, but the 24-year-old called on the supporters to get behind the team while the game is being played.

"Something was said, of what had happened, but the important thing is to be all united by a common cause, which is that Valencia win and are as high as possible in the table, and try to leave the other side of things," he added.

Primera División table

# Team MP D P
1 9 +20 22
2 9 +8 22
3 9 +23 21
4 9 +12 20
5 9 +8 20

Primera División table

# Team MP D P
2 9 +8 22
3 9 +23 21
4 9 +12 20
5 9 +8 20
6 9 +5 16