Copa del Rey: Getafe and Valencia hold the edge

January 23, 2008

MADRID, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Last season's King's Cup runners-up Getafe and six times winners Valencia have the upper hand in their quarter-finals after 1-0 home wins in their first-leg matches on Wednesday.

Getafe claimed a deserved victory over 2003 winners Real Mallorca while Ronald Koeman's Valencia put their troubles on hold by beating Atletico Madrid in a bad-tempered affair.

Atletico suffered an early blow at the Mestalla when they were reduced to 10 men after 25 minutes when midfielder Thiago Motta was sent off for picking up two quick-fire bookings.

The visitors were clearly unnerved by the setback and Valencia were quick to take advantage, midfielder David Silva cracking home 12 minutes before halftime after a poor headed clearance from Atletico centre-back Pablo Ibanez.

Valencia had a host of opportunities to extend their lead but gritty Atletico managed to hold on and keep the tie open until next week's second leg at the Calderon.

Getafe made all the running at the Coliseum with midfielder Jaime Gavilan and striker Braulio leading the way with a series of dangerous runs into the box in the first half.

Despite their dominance Michael Laudrup's side were unable to prise open Mallorca until seven minutes after the break when midfielder Ruben de la Red headed in after Juan Albin flicked a Gavilan free kick over the visiting defence.

Mallorca, who beat Real Madrid in the last round, rarely ventured into attack and only threatened when former Getafe striker Daniel Guiza came off the bench in the second half.

Barcelona visit Villarreal and Racing Santander host Athletic Bilbao in the other quarter-final ties on Thursday.