High-flying Real wary of King's Cup upset
MADRID, Jan 1 (Reuters) - Although they are on a high after their 1-0 win over arch-rivals Barcelona in the league, Real Madrid remain wary of an upset in Wednesday's return leg of their King's Cup last 32 tie against third division Alicante.
'The game against Alicante is dangerous because they are having a great season, they are second place in their league and made life difficult for us in the first leg,' fullback Miguel Torres told a news conference on Monday.
Real were fortunate to scramble a 1-1 draw in last month's first leg thanks to a stoppage time equaliser from substitute Javier Balboa and have consistently underperformed in the Cup in recent years.
The nine-times European champions have regularly stumbled to defeat against unfancied opponents and have not won the competition since 1993.
But their coach Bernd Schuster took his previous team Getafe to last year's final and the former Real, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid midfielder had a great record in the Cup as a player.
Barcelona are in the driving seat against third division Alcoyano after a 3-0 win in the first leg and may be taking the competition more seriously after seeing their title hopes dented with their home defeat against Real.
Frank Rijkaard's side will be without their Cup goalkeeper Albert Jorquera who is expected to be out for six months after tearing the cruciate ligament in his right knee during a match between the Catalan and Basque regional selections during the brief Christmas break.
Like Real Madrid, holders Sevilla were held by lower-ranked opposition in the first leg, drawing 1-1 at third division Denia.
But the Andalucians look to have rediscovered their scoring touch after a 4-1 win over Racing Santander in their last league match and will be confident of reaching the last 16.
Real Zaragoza were the only top flight side to lose to third division opponents in the first leg games, going down 1-0 at Pontevedra and coach Victor Fernandez will come under heavy pressure if they do not win through in their match on Thursday.