Real Madrid beat Leganes in Copa del Rey

Real Madrid beat Leganes in Copa del Rey
Real Madrid players celebrate after Sergio Ramos scored their second goal during a Copa del Rey match against Leganes.
Madrid, Jan 10 (IANS) | Publish Date: 1/10/2019 10:35:20 AM IST

Vinicius Junior scored a goal and assisted on another in Real Madrid’s 3-0 victory over Leganes in round-of-16 action in the Copa del Rey, Spain’s annual knockout football competition.

The Blancos on Wednesday got off to a frustrating start at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, with Karim Benzema squandering two early chances on a shot over the crossbar and a bouncing header into the arms of goalkeeper Cuellar, reports Efe news. But Leganes also had a missed opportunity to rue when goalkeeper Keylor Navas dove to his left to save a powerful header by striker Martin Braithwaite.

Late in the first half, the Blancos’ Alvaro Odriozola made his presence felt in the opposing goal area. After a bizarre decision to pass instead of shoot in a one-on-one chance against Cuellar, he won a penalty just before first-half stoppage time when he was taken down by defender Rodri Tarin in the area.

Sergio Ramos then converted from the 12-yard mark to give Real Madrid a 1-0 lead heading into the intermission. That advantage did wonders for the home side’s confidence and level of play in the second half. Although Vinicius missed out on a couple of chances to score, Real Madrid’s constant pressure led to the second goal in the 69th minute. On the play, Benzema capitalized on a defensive error to take possession of the ball in the area and pass off to Vinicius, who set up Lucas Vasquez for an easy score into a virtually empty net.

The final goal came off the foot of Vinicius, who volleyed home a pass from Odriozola in the 77th minute. Leganes will have a massive hill to climb when they host the second leg of this Copa del Rey round-of-16 series at Butarque Municipal Stadium on January 16.  

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid earned a 1-1 draw away to Girona in a chaotic and entertaining Copa del Rey last 16 first-leg match on Wednesday, leaving the tie finely balanced.

France striker Antoine Griezmann scored for the fourth game running to give Atletico the lead in the ninth minute, hammering a shot against the crossbar which bounced off goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz and crept into the net. Atletico fielded an almost full-strength side at a windy Montilivi stadium while Girona opted to start without a number of first-team regulars, but the Catalans pulled themselves level in the 34th minute when a tame shot from Anthony Lozano went through the hands of visiting goalkeeper Antonio Adan.

Diego Simeone’s side showed more determination to win the game after the interval and Angel Correa, Nikola Kalinic and Vitolo each had chances to restore their lead but failed to find the target, ahead of next Wednesday’s second leg at their Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

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