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Fairy-tale cup run inspires Spanish town

  • AP, Monday, January 30, 2012 1:14 AM

Mirandes' run to the Spanish Cup semifinals has amazed soccer fans in a country dominated by big-money teams and it has invigorated a troubled Spanish town during tough
financial times.

Mirandes is only the third third-division club to have reached the last four of the Copa del Rey. It has eliminated top-flight teams Villarreal, Racing Santander and Espanyol to go into Tuesday’s first-leg match against 23-time cup champion Athletic Bilbao.

Miranda de Ebro, a northern industrial town of 40,000 mired in high unemployment like the rest of Spain during the current recession, has a team on the verge of an historic cup final that would secure it a place in European play next season.

“We’ve put Miranda de Ebro on the map,” defender Cesar Caneda, who scored a winning stoppage time goal against Espanyol. “This is a city experiencing a tremendous
unemployment crisis, so it’s an honor to play on a team that can provide some kind of pleasure. The fans deserve it.”

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