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Second-string Real too good for Terrassa

Madrid: An under-strength Real Madrid saw off a brave challenge from second division Terrassa at the Bernabeu on Tuesday to claim a 4-2 victory and move through to the quarter final of the King’s Cup on a 7-5 aggregate.

Real were cruising at 2-0 up in the second half with goals from Albert Celades and Fernando Hierro but a brilliant strike from Terrassa forward Monty changed the game on 67 minutes, with the visitors almost grabbing an equaliser shortly afterwards.

Real moved back clear with goals from Javier Portillo and Steve McManaman, though, and Cristian’s deflected free kick came too late to worry the European champions.

Despite the late slip-up that let Terrassa come from 3-1 down to claim a 3-3 draw in the first leg, Vicente del Bosque stuck to his policy of playing a second string in the Cup, with captain Hierro the only first team regular in from the start.

That looked a safe enough bet from the Real boss as Celades took a Tote pass and tucked in to give his side the lead on 21 minutes and Hierro scored from the penalty spot after Guti had been fouled in the area eight minutes before the break.

The home side missed a host of chances at the start of the second half, though, and Terrassa gave themselves hope when Monty, the Catalan club’s two-goal hero from the first leg, beat Real keeper Cesar with a fine shot from 25 metres.

Monty almost grabbed a spectacular equaliser with a drive from the right of the area but Cesar was alert to tip over and Real calmed their nerves on 77 minutes when Portillo took a McManaman pass before converting.

McManaman, enjoying a rare run out for Real, capped an excellent display with his side’s fourth five minutes from time, the English midfielder controlling a high ball in to the box, beating the covering defender and blasting past the keeper.

There was still time for Terrassa to pull a goal back, Cristian’s free kick taking a deflection and beating Cesar, but Real held on to become the first side through to the quarter finals.

Milan held

AC Milan found the going tough as they drew 0-0 against a determined Chievo Verona in the first leg of their Italian Cup quarter final at the San Siro Tuesday.

Despite resting first-team regulars Rivaldo and Andriy Shevchenko, the home side were still able to field an impressive starting line-up, which included Italian international striker Filippo Inzaghi.

But it was Chievo who enjoyed the best chances of the first half and came close to grabbing the lead in the 13th minute when midfielder Nikola Lazetic hit the post with a 25-yard grasscutter.

In the second half Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti introduced more first-team players, bringing on Rui Costa in place of Brazilian Leonardo and replacing midfielder Samuele Dalla Bona with Serginho.

The result was more possession, but Chievo’s defence stood firm, defender John Mensah closing down attacks on the edge of the area.

With seven minutes left Milan missed their last good chance to win the match, when Danish striker Jon Dahl Tomasson flicked a header wide from Alessandro Costacurta’s cross.

The result leaves Milan needing a win or a score draw in the away leg at Verona’s Bentegodi stadium next week.

Marseille back on top

Two first half goals by Ibrahima Bakayoko and Daniel Van Buyten helped Olympique Marseille beat in-form Stade Rennes 2-0 to return to the top of the French league table on Tuesday.

The Ivory Coast striker Bakayoko opened the scoring when he outmanoeuvred defender Julien Escude to slot the ball from close range in the sixth minute.

Belgian international defender Van Buyten volleyed home a fine cross by Brazilian Fernandao in the 18th minute putting the issue beyond doubt.

The Brittany side, inspired by their coach Vahid Halilodzic, came to Marseille after a string of five victories which saw them move from the bottom to the 14th place in the table.

But the hosts dominated from the start and proved solid at the back too despite the absence of suspended captain Frank Leboeuf and injured sweeper Abdoulaye Meite to remain unbeaten at the Stade Velodorme this season.

In the dying minutes, Marseille went close to a third goal through midfielder Lamine Sakho and then substitute striker Dimitri Syshev.

Marseille moved from third to first in the standings taking over from Nice at the top.

Marseille are on 38 points from 22 games, one point ahead of Riviera. Title holders Olympique Lyon are on 36 points.

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