Italy striker Antonio Cassano
scored four minutes into his Real Madrid debut to give them a 1-0 win over Real
Betis in the first leg of their King's Cup quarter-final on Wednesday.
Holders Betis had looked the more dangerous side until substitute Cassano's
65th-minute goal in an intense match in Seville with few chances.
The former AS Roma striker replaced Roberto Soldado after an hour, just before
Capi saw his goalbound header cleared from under Real's bar by the head of
Brazilian defender Cicinho.
Guti's free kick four minutes later was headed high into the area. Toni Doblas
came out to clear but the Betis keeper flapped at the ball with his attempted
punch and it dropped at Cassano's feet for the simplest of tap-ins.
Cassano told reporters: "I am delighted with the goal but the victory for the
team is much more important."
The result makes it three wins from three in all competitions for Juan Ramon
Lopez Caro's improving side and leaves Betis with all the work to do in the
second leg at the Bernabeu.
In the day's other quarter-final first leg, Espanyol won 2-0 at Cadiz thanks to
a 51st-minute goal by new signing Walter Pandiani and a fine individual effort
from Fredson near the end.
Deportivo Coruna take on Valencia at home on Thursday.
In their delayed last-16 second leg, Real Zaragoza survived a spirited
fight-back from Atletico Madrid to draw 2-2 and book a quarter-final showdown
with league leaders Barcelona.
Zaragoza progressed 3-2 on aggregate.
Atletico went into the game on the back of a 10-match run without a league
victory and 1-0 down from the first leg, and trailed after nine minutes when
midfielder Cani bundled in the rebound after his first shot was saved by Ismael
Cani turned provider for Oscar Gonzalez in the 26th minute, crossing from the
left for the midfielder to score at the near post.
Mateja Kezman pulled a goal back for Atletico after 33 minutes following good
work from Argentine winger Luciano Galletti.
Galletti equalised in the second half after Fernando Torres's surging run opened
up the Zaragoza defence.