Copa del Rey: Misery continues for Atletico
Atletico Madrid's miserable season took another turn for the worse after they were beaten 3-0 by Segunda Division strugglers Recreativo Huelva in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 tie.
Atletico were hoping Saturday's last-gasp win over high-flying Sevilla was the start of something better for them following a largely forgettable 2009, which saw them suffer their worst start to a Primera Division season in 56 years and get knocked out of the Champions League without winning a single game in the group stages. However, there was only more disappointment in store for Quique Sanchez Flores' men.
The writing was on the wall for Atletico inside the opening 24 minutes as Recre raced into a 2-0 lead though Bruno Fornaroli's 14th-minute opener and Jeronimo Barrales' penalty ten minutes later, while the visitors had defender Tomas Ujfalusi sent-off in between those two goals.
Daniel Candeias made it 3-0 in the 88th minute with a goal that leaves Atletico with a mountain to climb in next week's second leg at the Vicente Calderon.
Elsewhere, David Silva made a goalscoring return to action for Valencia but it was not enough to save the 2008 cup winners from slumping to a 2-1 home defeat against Deportivo La Coruna in their first leg.
Silva had been missing since damaging knee ligaments against Real Mallorca in November, but he appeared as a second-half substitute and needed just 12 minutes to make his mark. Unfortunately for Valencia they were 2-0 down at that stage, having conceded goals to Andres Guardado and Pablo Alvarez in the ten minutes after half-time.
There was some good news for Valencia, though, as, aside from the return of Silva, Spain international Vicente Rodriguez made his first appearance of the season for Los Che after recovering from his injury.
Real Madrid's conquerors Alcorcon's hopes of reaching the quarter-finals remain just about alive, but they will need to overcome a 3-2 deficit against Racing Santander in their second leg.
Alcorcon, who play in the third tier of Spanish football, knocked out Madrid 4-1 on aggregate in the previous round, causing shockwaves with their 4-0 home win in the first leg, and they showed themselves to be tough opposition again.
Racing looked to have taken control of the tie after establishing leads of 2-0 and 3-1 thanks to goals from Christian (31), Alex Geijo (47) and Jose Moraton (62), but Alcorcon stayed in touch through efforts from Inigo Lopez (57) and Borja Gomez (87).
In Wednesday's other match, Villarreal drew 1-1 at Celta Vigo, who levelled on the stroke of half-time through Arthuro after falling behind to Giuseppe Rossi's 12th-minute opener.
On Tuesday night, holders Barcelona lost 2-1 at home to Sevilla, while the remaining three first-leg ties take place on Thursday when Hercules face Osasuna, Rayo Vallecano meet Real Mallorca and Malaga take on Getafe. The second legs of all the ties will be played next week, with the quarter-finals taking place later this month.