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Real Madrid advance in Copa del Rey despite draw against Numancia

Real Madrid, Leganes and Alaves advanced to the Copa del Rey quarter-finals on Wednesday.

football Updated: Jan 11, 2018 11:00 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press
Associated Press, Madrid
Real Madrid,Copa del Rey,Numancia
Real Madrid players in action against Numancia in the Copa del Rey Round of 16 second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid on Wednesday.(AP)

Real Madrid reached the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday but its struggles continued with a 2-2 draw against second-division team Numancia.

Madrid, playing with a second-string lineup, advanced 5-2 on aggregate thanks to its 3-0 win in the first leg last week, which marked the team’s only win in its last four games.

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Zinedine Zidane’s side was coming off a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo and a demoralizing 3-0 home loss to Barcelona in the Spanish league, a competition in which it trails the Catalan club by 16 points with a game in hand.

In front of fewer than 38,000 fans at the 81,000-capacity Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Lucas Vazquez scored for Madrid in the 10th and 59th minutes, while Guillermo Fernandez got Numancia on the board in the 45th and 82nd.

Madrid struggled to create significant chances and was unable to prevent Numancia from threatening.

“We faced a team that gave all it had and played a good game,” Zidane said. “We need to win two or three games in a row to regain some of our confidence. We will keep working hard. We will not just give up.”

Numancia captain Dani Calvo was red carded in injury time.

“We are happy with our performance,” Fernandez said. “It’s not easy to earn a draw in this stadium. We are very satisfied.”

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Cristiano Ronaldo was among the players rested by Zidane on Wednesday. Regular starters Casemiro and Isco entered the match in the second half.

On Tuesday, Atletico Madrid eliminated third-division club Lleida, while Valencia beat Las Palmas.

Three-time defending champion Barcelona hosts Celta Vigo on Thursday. The teams drew 1-1 in last week’s first leg in Vigo.

LEGANES MAKES HISTORY

Leganes reached the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey for the first time in its 89-year history despite a 2-1 loss at Villarreal.

With the teams 2-2 on aggregate, Leganes advanced on away goals after winning the first leg 1-0.

Nabil El Zhar put the visitors ahead before halftime but Daniel Raba equalized for Villarreal early in the second half.

Denis Cheryshev scored Villarreal’s winner with only a few minutes left.

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The hosts needed another goal to advance but couldn’t get it despite creating several scoring chances throughout the match — with a great performance by Leganes goalkeeper Nereo Champagne.

It is the third straight season that Villarreal has been eliminated in the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey.

Leganes, founded in 1928, is playing only its second season in the first division of Spanish football.

ALAVES ADVANCES

Last year’s runner-up Alaves defeated third-division team Formentera 2-0 to advance 5-1 on aggregate.

Ermedin Demirovic opened the scoring early in the second half and Alfonso Pedraza sealed the victory in injury time at Mendizorroza Stadium.

In the previous round, Formentera had eliminated Athletic Bilbao, which has won the Copa del Rey 23 times.

Alaves is in the relegation zone in La Liga.

First Published: Jan 11, 2018 09:14 IST