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Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Record breaking Barca book place in Cup quarters

MADRID, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Barcelona booked a place in the King's Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday with a 16th consecutive win as they crushed third division Zamora 6-0 at the Nou Camp.

The 9-1 aggregate victory meant Frank Rijkaard's side bettered a record set by Alfredo Di Stefano-inspired Real Madrid in the 1960-61 season when they won 15 league games in row.

The Catalans, whose only defeat so far this season came when they lost 2-1 to Atletico Madrid in September, have won every game since beating Osasuna 3-0 on Oct. 22.

Barca were joined in the last eight by holders Real Betis, Deportivo Coruna, Valencia, Espanyol and Cadiz.

Betis, who are struggling in 18th place in the Primera Liga, momentarily put their relegation worries behind them as they edged through on the away goals rule 1-1 on aggregate after a 0-0 draw against Celta Vigo.

Valencia completed a 3-0 aggregate win over regional rivals Villarreal, Portugal defender Miguel scoring a virtuoso solo goal to earn them a 1-0 victory at the Mestalla.

Deportivo went through 4-2 on aggregate against last season's losing finalists Osasuna despite losing 2-1 in the return leg, while Cadiz hung on to a narrow 3-2 first-leg lead with a battling 0-0 draw at fellow Andalucians Sevilla.

Trailing 1-0 after the first leg against Espanyol, Getafe looked like turning the tie around when striker Riki grabbed two goals in the first 15 minutes.

But a spectacular volley from Espanyol midfielder Eduardo Costa and a double from Jonathan Soriano put the Catalans 3-2 up midway through the second half and although Getafe levelled the game with a late penalty it was not enough.

Atletico Madrid lost 1-0 at home to Real Zaragoza in a first-leg match that was held over from last week, a result that will put coach Carlos Bianchi under intense pressure.

Third division Zamora had arrived at the Nou Camp by the skin of their teeth after a 12-hour fog-delayed journey which had started at Salamanca airport.

But Barca, who rested their first-choice attacking trio of Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi, showed no mercy as they stormed into a 4-0 lead in the first half.

Winger Santi Ezquerro put the Catalans ahead with less than a minute on the clock and Sweden striker Henrik Larsson struck two quickfire goals to make it 3-0 midway through the half.

The shell-shocked Castilians were hit once more 11 minutes before the break as midfielder Thiago Motta scored with a bullet header by outjumping the defence after a Van Bronckhorst corner.

Mark Van Bommel steered in a volley after good work from Larsson and Ludovic Giuly to make it 5-0 early in the second half and substitute Maxi Lopez completed the rout with a penalty after he was bowled over in the area 10 minutes from time.

Barca's arch-rivals Real Madrid meet Athletic Bilbao at the Bernabeu on Thursday with a 1-0 lead after last week's first leg against the Basque side.

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