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Thursday, January 12, 2006
Real overpower sorry Bilbao

MADRID, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Real Madrid strolled into the last eight of the King's Cup when they crushed a sorry-looking Athletic Bilbao 4-0 at the Bernabeu on Thursday.

A double from Brazilian forward Robinho and goals from defender Sergio Ramos and reserve team striker Roberto Soldado gave Real a 5-0 aggregate win over the Primera Liga strugglers.

Real will join a high-powered line-up for the quarter-finals that includes holders Real Betis, in-form Barcelona, Valencia, Deportivo Coruna, Espanyol, Cadiz and the winner of the postponed tie between Real Zaragoza and Atletico Madrid.

Barca powered their way into the last eight with a 6-0 win over third division Zamora on Wednesday, Valencia beat regional rivals Villarreal 3-0 on aggregate, while Deportivo went through 4-2 despite losing 2-1 in the second leg to Osasuna.

Real, who held a 1-0 lead after the first-leg at San Mames thanks to a David Beckham strike, made a cagey start at the Bernabeu and rarely ventured out of midfield in the opening quarter of an hour.

They were gifted a great chance to take the lead when Guti robbed the ball after a Bilbao corner and put Robinho in the clear, but the Brazilian wasted the opportunity by misjudging his pass to the unmarked Julio Baptista in the area.

Robinho atoned for his error, however, when he tore through the middle of the Bilbao defence after picking up a fine pass from Guti and calmly drilled the ball past keeper Inaki Lafuente on the half hour.

Real eased up for the remainder of the half while Bilbao, who are languishing in the relegation zone, appeared to have their minds on Sunday's league clash against leaders Barcelona.

Real stepped up a gear after the break and extended their lead on 65 minutes when Ramos chested the ball over the line after a Beckham free kick had bobbled its way across the area.

Soldado, getting a rare run out in the starting line-up in the absence of the injured Ronaldo, made it 3-0 two minutes from time when he sent a marvellous glancing header into the top corner after a fine cross from Raul Bravo.

Contented Real fans began to stream towards the exits before the final whistle, but Robinho brought further cheers from the crowd when he added a fourth.

The slightly built Brazilian, who had early spurned a golden chance to score a second, completed his double when he smashed into the open net after Beckham had cut the ball back from the byline deep into injury time.

The draw for the quarter-finals will take place on Friday.

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