Ronaldo guides Real to Copa victory

BY foxsports • January 13, 2011

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 31st goal of the season as Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 3-1 in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals on Thursday.

In a highly charged city derby at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas tripped up Sergio Aguero inside the area in the seventh minute but the ball trickled on for Diego Forlan to slot home the opener.

Atletico 'keeper David De Gea kept the visitors close with a number of outstanding saves but was helpless in the 14th as Sergio Ramos headed home Angel Di Maria's corner kick to equalize.

Ronaldo's first score against Atletico proved the winner as he stabbed Mesut Oezil's bouncing cross in at the far post in the 61st.

Oezil scored the third goal in the 90th to ensure Madrid maintained its 11-year unbeaten run against its crosstown rival, which has gone 19 games without a Spanish capital derby win. All of those games were in league play until Thursday's first-leg match.

"All games should be like this one - fast, without breaks," Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said. "We played better in the first half than the second half but what's important is to win. Between 2-1 and 3-1 there's little difference. We're a little more calm, but not much."

Earlier, Knut Rindaroy's 35th-minute own-goal gave Almeria a 1-0 victory against Deportivo La Coruna. The winner of that series is likely to face record 25-time champion Barcelona, which beat Real Betis 5-0 on Wednesday.

Both coaches started full strength squads with winger Juanfran Torres making his Atletico debut a day after signing from Osasuna.

Atletico took advantage of its only first-half scoring opportunity when Jose Antonio Reyes played Aguero clean into goal.

"I think we've showed we're a super competitive team and that there are no deficits that are out of reach," Atletico coach Quique Sanchez Flores said.

Only De Gea kept a relentless Madrid attack from getting further ahead after Ramos' equalizer as the teenage 'keeper showed his talent from the 23rd when he stretched to tip Ricardo Carvalho's powerful header beyond the far post.

De Gea then pushed Di Maria's rising drive over on the half hour mark and Ronaldo's angled shot out in the 31st. He spilled Di Maria's roller in the 36th but Filipe Luis managed to clear it away from Karim Benzema.

Forlan and Aguero saw few touches until the 55th when Casillas stuck his right foot out to deny Aguero, who had worked his way into the area.

Kaka replaced Benzema in the 56th just before De Gea spilled again, this time from Marcelo.

Casillas again stuck his right foot out to divert Aguero's chance in the 59th and Forlan was unlucky as he sent the rebound off the post.

Ronaldo's fifth of the competition proved the winner, but Oezil ensured Madrid came away with an extra goal ahead of the return leg at Vicente Calderon Stadium next week as he jumped on an Atletico defensive blunder to slide home an easy score inside the area.

"I think they have enough quality to believe they can do it. They have incredible quality in attack - great strikers, very dangerous," Mourinho cautioned. "I have to go to Atletico Madrid and go with my best team because 3-1 is still a dangerous result."

Defending champion Sevilla rallied to draw 3-3 at Villarreal in the other last eight matchup.