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Ronaldo Sends Real Madrid Into Copa del Rey Semi-Finals

A Cristiano Ronaldo goal was all that Real Madrid needed to beat city rivals Atletico 1-0 to reach the Spanish Cup semi-finals 4-1 on aggregate. Real, who have not won the competition since 1993, will place holders Sevilla in the last four while Barcelona, who saw off Real Betis 6-3 on aggregate, despite losing the second leg of their quarter-final 3-1 on Wednesday, will meet Almeria.

Real have not won the competition since 1993 but only holders Sevilla stand in the way of a potential final with Barcelona.

Ronaldo, who else, scored the only goal of the game in the 23rd minute . Xabi Alonso sweep the ball wide to Sergio Ramos and the defender’s cross was deflected into the path of Ronaldo. The Portuguese star thumped home in emphatic fashion from the centre of goal to make it 32 goals for the season.

Atletico, last year’s runners-up, were desperately disappointing and created few chances on their home ground having lost 3-1 in the first leg last week. Fran Merida had Atletico’s best opportunity but fired weakly into the arms of Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas in the 51st minute.

Real’s win came just hours after general manager Jorge Valdano Thursday denied reports of a rift between him and coach Jose Mourinho.

“I have no problems at all with Mourinho,” the Argentine told reporters. “Crazy things are being said. All this commotion that has happened in recent days doesn’t make any sense,” he said, according to sports newspaper AS. “Since Sunday, we have had dinner together… We speak constantly, we messaged each other just yesterday.”

Rumours of friction between the two were fueled by comments Valdano made after Madrid’s draw against Almeria on Sunday when he said that French striker Karim Benzema, who spent the much of the match on the bench, was suffering “a great injustice”. Pointedly, Benzema was on the bench again last night at Mourinho went with just one striker, Ronaldo.