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Madrid and Valencia avert cup shocks

Third division Alicante CF were denied a Copa del Rey last 32 first-leg win against Real Madrid CF by a last-gasp equaliser while Valencia CF avoided similar embarrassment.

Third division Alicante CF were denied victory against Real Madrid CF tonight by a last-gasp equaliser in the first leg of the Copa del Rey's round of 32 while Valencia CF also narrowly avoided a similar embarrassment.

Balboa equaliser
Alicante have twice finished top of Segunda División B Group 3 in the last three years, only to miss out on promotion in the play-offs, but had an unfamiliar Madrid lineup in trouble from the start. Although Jerzy Dudek was playing well in the visitors' goal, he was beaten on the hour mark by Borja's penalty after Royston Drenthe had fouled Álvaro. However, Madrid's blushes were spared in added time thanks to a Javier Balboa free-kick.

Valencia relief
Valencia had gone six games without a goal so when they fell behind to another Segunda División B side, Real Unión Club de Irún, things looked bleak. But Iñaki Goikoetxea's early strike did not prove decisive as Nikola Žigić scored on 61 and 71 minutes to give Valencia a 2-1 win, only their second under coach Ronald Koeman.

Espanyol recover
In the night's only all-Primera División encounter, Sergio González's free-kick gave RC Deportivo La Coruña the lead at his former club RCD Espanyol only for Ferrán Corominas to secure a 1-1 draw for the 2005/06 cup winners three minutes from time. The return matches are played in the first week of January.