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Copa del Rey: Giant-killing on the menu as second round gets underway

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Madrid, Dec 4 (IANS) The second round of the Spanish Copa del Rey knockout competition gets underway on Tuesday, with sides from La Liga looking to progress into the round of 32 against lower league opposition.

The format of the competition means the teams from the top flight are drawn to play away to rivals from lower divisions, meaning some 'giant-killing' could be on the cards.

Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, FC Barcelona and Osasuna, who all play in the Supercup in January, are exempt from this round, while Granada were kicked out of the competition after fielding an ineligible player in the first round, reports Xinhua.

Villarreal became the first team to book a place in the third round when they beat fourth-tier Zamora a fortnight ago, but the fact Marcelino Garcia Toral's side were a minute from being knocked out before Jose Luis Morales' 89th-minute equaliser, and only progressed after extra time, showed the pitfalls that can await in the Copa.

Tuesday sees Getafe travel to the Valencia region to play Atzeneta from the RFEF Third division, which is the regional fifth tier of the Spanish game.

Jose Luis Bordalas' side currently sit in comfortable mid-table in La Liga but have a dreadful Copa del Rey record, never getting past the quarter-finals and with three second-round exits in the last four years.

Bordalas will give a chance to fringe players and although the difference in level is probably too much for Atzeneta, this could be closer than expected.

Valencia travel to Galicia to face another fifth-tier side, Arosa, who are in the second round due to Granada's expulsion from the tournament.

The team from the north-west of Spain actually lost their first-round tie 3-0 to Granada before the result was overturned, which implies Valencia should have few problems in progressing, although Granada's last two goals came in the 88th and 90th minutes of the game.

The bulk of the matches are on Wednesday, which is a public holiday in Spain, with struggling Almeria's visit to play Barbastro perhaps the biggest candidate for an upset.

--IANS

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