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Ten-man Madrid mount comeback to clinch Copa quarter-final spot

MATCH REPORT. 20/01/2022. Alberto Navarro. Photographer: Antonio Villalba

Goals by Isco and Hazard in the second half of extra-time in Elche clinched a quarter-final berth for Real Madrid, who played with 10 men from the 102nd minute.

At the Martínez Valero this evening, Real Madrid showed once again why their never-say-die spirit is world-renowned. Despite the odds against them, at 1-0 down and playing with ten men after Marcelo was given his marching orders on 102’, Ancelotti's charges produced a spectacular second half of extra-time to seal their place in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals thanks to goals by Isco with 108 minutes on the clock and Hazard on 115’. The madridistas will discover their opposition in the next round on Friday.

The first half was an entertaining affair, with chances presenting themselves for both teams. The hosts were the first to threaten, inside ten minutes, when Josan sent a ball into the box and Carrillo contrived to turn the ball against the crossbar from point-blank range. Elche were at it again 16 minutes later and this time Mojica whipped one in, finding Carrillo once again, and this time his header was kept out by a superb Lunin stop. With half-time approaching, our team crafted their first opportunities of note. First, Vini Jr. laid the ball to Camavinga but the Frenchman's shot from the edge of the box ended up in Werner's gloves on 40’. Two minutes later, Marcelo delivered a delightful nutmeg to escape Josan's attentions and pulled the ball back to Rodrygo, who failed to find the target.

Video.1-2: Ten-man Madrid mount comeback to clinch Copa quarter-final spot

he second half was also played at a rip-roaring pace, although clear-cut chances were very much at a premium. Ancelotti shuffled his pack and introduced Modrić and Casemiro in place of Valverde and Camavinga with 72 minutes on the clock, and the Brazilian was soon into the thick of things and tried his luck on 77’ with an effort from the edge of the box that drew a fine diving save from Werner, who palmed the ball behind for a corner. Our boys continued to push forward in search of a winner and it very nearly came on 82’, when a free-flowing team move saw Marcelo’s backheeled pass pick out Vini Jr., whose shot from inside the box was gathered in by the hosts’ goalkeeper. No further goals materialised and another 30 minutes were in store.

Extra time got underway with a dangerous free-kick from Gumbau in the 96th minute that forced an impressive save from Lunin. The visitors wasted little time in producing a response and just two minutes later, Vini Jr. won the ball back near to the Elche goal and fed Casemiro, whose shot failed to find the target. Marcelo was then sent from the field after he upended Morente as the striker bore down on Lunin with the contest now 102 minutes old. From the resulting free-kick, our luck was out as a clearance from Verdú’s effort ricocheted off Ceballos and into the net to put the hosts into the ascendancy.  

Ten men fight back
Just like all of the previous sides who’ve represented this club, this set of Real Madrid players weren’t about to give up on the game and hauled themselves level in the 108th minute, when Casemiro laid the ball back to Ceballos, who fired in a left-footed shot that took the slightest of touches off Isco to carry it past Werner. Despite the numerical disadvantage, our team continued to dominate and struck the winner on 118’, when Alaba played an inviting ball over the top and Hazard did the rest. The Belgian skilfully danced past the goalkeeper and sealed our side’s passage with an inch-perfect left-footed finish. In the final minute, the referee ruled out a Fidel goal for a foul in the build-up by Verdú on Lucas Vázquez. The madridistas will now discover their Copa del Rey quarter-final opponents on Friday.

Fifth win on the bounce

The win at the Martínez Valero is Real Madrid's fifth in a row: two in the Copa del Rey, two in the Spanish Super Cup and one in LaLiga. Alcoyano (1-3), Valencia (4-1), Barcelona (2-3) and Athletic (0-2) were their previous opposition.

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The referee

Figueroa Vázquez (Andalusian Committee), assisted by Porras Ayuso and Carreño Cabrera. Calderiña Pavón was the fourth official and Iglesias Villanueva (Galician Committee) was the video assistant referee.

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