REPORT | 31/01/2019 | Javier García | PHOTOGRAPHER: Helios de la RubiaThe Frenchman hit his second brace inside four days and Llorente rounded off the win over Girona, Real Madrid's fourth in a row.
- Copa del Rey
- Quarter Final (Second-Leg)
The two teams both played their part in an exciting opening spell with lots of goal-mouth action at either end. Granell showed the hosts' intent early on with a shot which struck the bar after just 2 minutes. Madrid began to take control of the game though and looked to threaten Iraizoz's goal. The lively Benzema gave some early warning signs, with a shot on the half-turn quickly followed by another effort after a fine cross from Carvajal, before Kroos tried his luck from the edge of the box.
Benzema puts on a show
With 26 minutes gone, Benzema came close to opening the scoring with a shot across goal, but he was just getting his eye in, going on to make it 0-1 just a minute later. The Frenchman burst into the area, exchanging a nice one-two with Carvajal, and beat the onrushing Iraizoz. Girona refused to give in though and went on to test Keylor through Lozano and Granell. As the game became increasingly end-to-end, Vinicius and Marcelo linked up in sublime fashion before the left-back unleashed a shot which was smothered by Iraizoz. As the hosts were gaining confidence in attack, Madrid pounced to make it 0-2. Vinicius laid the ball to Benzema, who sealed his brace with a beautiful curling effort reminiscent of Sunday's strike against Espanyol. Half-time then came about after Navas reacted superbly to deny Stuani.
Real Madrid began the second half with a comfortable advantage thanks to their superiority at both ends of the pitch. Although the pace of the game dropped somewhat, and Girona seemed to sit a back a little, Solari's men didn’t relent in their efforts to add to their tally. The Benzema-Vinicius connection continued to cause the home side problems until the manager changed things around as he looked to rest some of his players. The game's double goal-scorer, Ramos and Vinicius were replaced by Asensio, Nacho and Bale.
In the 65th minute, Asensio forced Iraizoz in to a save and Lucas Vazquez hit the post with the rebound. Girona, who had barely bothered Navas in the second half, reduced the deficit with a counter that was finished off by Pedro Porro (71'). A shot from Bale caused problems for Iraizoz, before Marcos Llorente made it 3-1 on the night with a well-struck effort from the edge of the area (76'). As the tie drew to a close, there was still time for chances for both teams. Raúl Carnero and Bale came closest, but the score line remained the same to seal a fourth victory in a row and a place in the semi-finals.