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Reds offensive woes continue

Liverpool Ratings about an hour ago
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By ESPN Staff
Jan 10, 2006

Bilbao confident ahead of Bernabeu King's Cup tie

MADRID, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Athletic Bilbao striker Ismael Urzaiz is confident the 23-times Cup winners can overturn their 1-0 first-leg deficit in the Bernabeu on Thursday, when they take on Real Madrid in the last 16 of the King's Cup.

David Beckham's goal separated the two sides in San Mames last week but Real do not induce the same kind of fear they once used to, even for a team second-last in the standings.

'I firmly believe it's easier to beat Madrid than it would be to beat Barcelona,' Urzaiz told sports daily AS. 'Madrid play an open game, based on individuals, and their defence is not very strong.

'We created a lot of chances in Bilbao because we were up for it but also because they sat back. It will be different in the Bernabeu but if we are smart, close them down, make the most of our chances, we'll do it.'

Real will be without leading scorer Ronaldo, who suffered a recurrence of a calf strain during Sunday's goalless draw with Villarreal, which could see new Italian signing Antonio Cassano handed his debut.

With league leaders Barcelona 13 points ahead of them in La Liga the Cup would appear to offer Real their best chance of silverware this season.

The other seven ties are all being played on Wednesday.

Holders Real Betis have the advantage against Celta Vigo after drawing 1-1 in the away first leg, while city rivals Sevilla are also at home looking to overturn their 3-2 first leg defeat to Cadiz.

Espanyol host Getafe with a 1-0 lead.

Atletico Madrid, who are without a win in nine league outings, play their postponed first leg game against Real Zaragoza in the Vicente Calderon.

Last week's game was called off after a virus struck down 14 Atletico players and a win would go some way to ease the pressure on under-fire boss Carlos Bianchi.

The rest of the ties require a serious change in fortunes for the losing sides to progress to the quarter-finals.

Last year's runners-up Osasuna lost their 100 percent home record to Racing Santander on Sunday as they drew 1-1 and need a monumental turn around to recover from their 3-0 first leg defeat against Deportivo Coruna.

Barcelona should have few problems seeing off third division Zamora in the Nou Camp as they hold a 3-1 lead, while Valencia are at home to Villarreal with a 2-0 advantage.