Zaragoza demolish Real Madrid 6-1 in Cup semi-final
ZARAGOZA, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Diego Milito smashed in four goals as Real Zaragoza continued their devastating form in the King's Cup with a 6-1 demolition of Real Madrid in the first leg of their semi-final on Wednesday.
The inspired Argentine helped himself to a hat-trick in less than 20 first-half minutes at La Romareda as Zaragoza inflicted one of the heaviest defeats on a sorry-looking Real Madrid.
Although Real pulled a goal back to make it 3-1 before the break, Milito scored his fourth 10 minutes after halftime to the delight of the home crowd.
Milito's strike partner Ewerthon also got in on the act when he got his side's fifth soon after and the Brazilian completed the rout with a wonderful half volley seven minutes from time.
Zaragoza, who smashed four goals past Betis in 12 first-half minutes in their 4-3 league win at the weekend and beat Barcelona 5-4 on aggregate in the last round, were left with one foot in the final of a competition they have won twice in the last five years.
'I'm delighted, it was a fantastic victory,' Milito told reporters. 'It was a unique night for me.'
Zaragoza coach Victor Munoz was unable to contain his satisfaction at his team's performance.
'We bordered on perfection out there tonight,' he said. 'The tie is not over yet but we've taken a magnificent step towards the final.'
The home side took control from the first whistle with the in-form Cani orchestrating the midfield and stretching the Real defence as he threaded a series of neat passes through to Milito and Ewerthon.
It came as little surprise when the two front men combined to carve open the Real defence in the 15th minute.
Former Borussia Dortmund player Ewerthon scorched past Ivan Helguera on the right, darted into the area and cut the ball back to Milito who lashed home past a helpless Iker Casillas.
Seven minutes later, the Argentine struck again. This time he stole a march on Roberto Carlos after a quick throw-in, cut inside a despairing Sergio Ramos and beat Casillas at the near post with a sharp finish with the outside of his foot.
Real were still reeling from the blow when the former Genoa player helped himself to his third, taking advantage of some slack marking to head home in the 34th minute.
Just as Real looked as though they were about to fold completely, they pulled one back from a cleverly worked set piece.
Brazilian forward Julio Baptista powered a header past former Real keeper Cesar after David Beckham had chipped a free kick into the area.
Zaragoza should have restored their advantage before the break, but Casillas produced a brilliant point-blank save to stop a sharp shot from midfielder Oscar after he had got behind the Real defence.
The capacity crowd did not have to wait long for the fourth, however, and inevitably the goal came from Milito when he outjumped the passive Real defence to head home from a corner 10 minutes into the second half.
Ewerthon joined in the fun five minutes later when he drilled under Casillas after steaming past the beleaguered Real centre backs to meet a fine through ball from Cani.
The Brazilian completed the rout with the most spectacular goal of the night when he sent a swerving half-volley looping over a distraught Casillas.
Espanyol host Deportivo Coruna in the first leg of the other semi-final on Thursday.