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Comeback to book a place in the Copa quarter-finals

MATCH REPORT. 19/01/2023. Alberto Navarro. Photographer: Helios de la Rubia

Real Madrid come back from 2-0 down to Villarreal at the break with a stunning second half and goals for Vini Jr., Militão and Ceballos.

Real Madrid have booked their place in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals. Our team headed into the half-time break 2-0 down at the Estadio de la Cerámica after Capoue and Chukwueze had put the home side ahead, but a remarkable second-half turnaround saw Vini Jr., and Militão level, before Ceballos completed the job on 86’.

The game could hardly have got off to a worse start. Villarreal were in front after only four minutes, as Capoue found the net. The madridista response came six minutes later, when Mendy found Valverde, who shot over the bar from inside the box. The game was being played at a break-neck pace and the chances were flowing. Villarreal came close again when Capoue darted into the box and pulled the ball across to Yeremy Pino on 18' but the forward failed to find the target.

Video.2-3: Comeback to book a place in the Copa quarter-finals

Madrid were looking to force their way back into the game and could have done so twice in quick succession with Mendy in the thick of the action. First, the Frenchman's right-footed shot ended up in Jorgensen's gloves with 34 minutes gone, and later, he pulled the ball back to Rodrygo, whose effort was cleared off the line by Pau Torres. The visitors were really up against it just before half-time, when a potential 1-1 quickly turned into 2-0 when Chukwueze had the ball in the net on 42’.

Total dominance after the break
Real Madrid pushed up higher early in the second half and successfully cut the deficit as the high press saw them win the ball back time and again, before it eventually yielded results. Ceballos, who had just come on for Kroos, was the provider, and Vini Jr. the scorer on 57’. Our team continued to attack and Asensio, who replaced Rodrygo, tried his luck on 68 minutes but his free-kick was kept out by the home goalkeeper's superb diving stop. One minute later and the game was all square. Ceballos crossed for Benzema to head towards goal, Jorgensen kept it out, but Militão was on hand to turn the ball into the net.

With the tie level again, our team looked fresher than Villarreal now. Indeed, the winner appeared imminent and it could well have been 2-3 on 76 when Vini Jr. found Camavinga's run, but the midfielder shot wide when through on goal. With 86 minutes on the clock, the pressure paid off, as Asensio pulled the ball back and Ceballos' precise finish left Jorgensen with no chance. It was a imperous performance by the Andalusian midfielder, setting up the opener, being involved in the second with the cross for Benzema and scoring the third. Real Madrid will be present in the Copa quarter-final draw.

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The referee

Gil Manzano (Extremadura), assisted by Nevado Rodríguez and Martínez Nicolás. Ramo Andrés was the fourth official, while Jaime Latre (Aragon) was the video assistant referee.

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