Real Madrid 3 - 0 Alcoyano (Spanish Cup, Last 32)

Real Madrid made their home debut in the current edition of the Spanish Cup (Copa del Rey) with a goalfest. A goal from Di Maria and a brace from Callejon, all in the second half, were enough to defeat Alcoyano and send Real Madrid through to the round of sixteen. The Whites, who began the match with academy players making up more than half the line up (six), have scored in their last 13 matches in the tournament and remain unbeaten on home ground this season in the dozen matches they've played with eight wins and two draws. In addition to the great score and qualification, Jose Rodriguez played a great match and Cheryshev made his first-team debut in an official match, being the first Russian to do so. Furthermore, the game marked Mourinho's 400th official win as a manager. Real Madrid's rival in the next stage will be the winner of the clash between Almeria and Celta.

Callejon and Di Maria celebrate their goals against Alcoyano
Callejon and Di Maria were the most valuable players of the match

Real Madrid made its debut in the only official competition in which it had yet to embark at home following the Spanish Super Cup, la Liga and the Champions League. It did so with a new starting line-up in which academy players filled more than half the positions. Notable among the young players trained in 'The Factory' were Cheryshev, who made his first team debut in an official match, becoming the first Russian to do so.

Mourinho had already made clear in the press room that it was not a matter of relying on the 1-4 first-leg score but winning and offering a great game for those that came to the Bernabeu. Real Madrid went out ready to put their coach's philosophy into practice, in spite of their difficult start to the match. Albiol, who was acting as captain, had to leave the field after a tackle from David Torres in the first minutes of the match. Coentrão went on in his place. It was the Portuguese who initiated the play that lead to their first chance at goal. Modric's on target volley from the front of the area was saved by a beautiful stretch from keeper Adrian Murcia in the 8th minute.

It was a twenty minute wait until the Whites' next opportunity at goal, despite their dominating the match. Academy player Nacho made a run and delivered a cross right to Cheryshev's feet. The player from the Russian national side overcame a visiting defender but was then stopped by the Alcoyano keeper. Callejón was unable to take advantage of the following rebound. He was also involved in the last incursion of the first half. The Whites' midfielder took a great free kick and Adrian Murcia replied in spectacular fashion. He left the ball loose but was back in place to clear Varane's subsequent shot for a corner. The visiting keeper was becoming the star of the match.

The Whites turned up the intensity in the second half, bearing down on their rivals with greater energy. As a result Alcoyano now struggled to make headway with the ball and the match became increasingly vertical. Morata almost opened the scoring from the front of the area after a great collective effort but his shot in the 60th went high. Di Maria's arrival a minute later, and Benzema's in the 70th lent the team even more bite.

From then on the Whites became a force to be reckoned with and the first goal now came quickly. Callejón made a run and delivered the ball to Benzema. The French player spotted Di María and assisted the Argentinian who then scored against an inspired Adrian Murcia in the 71st. Javi Selva complained to the referee and was given a second yellow card, leaving the visiting side a player short. The second goal almost came in the 87th but while the stands were already celebrating, Benzema's shot went high. They came even closer to the second goal a minute later when Di María hit the cross bar after a one-on-one with the keeper. When the second goal did arrive it was soon followed by a third. Both were scored by Callejon. The academy player took advantage of an assist from Özil to score his first in the 89th and another from Di Maria to seal the match in extra time. The Whiteshave scored in their last thirteen matches in the tournament and remain unbeaten on their home turf this season in the dozen matches they've played with eight wins and two draws. This Thursday they'll know who their next rival is, either Almeria or Celta.


Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 35,000
Goals:1-0, m.72: Di Maria. 2-0, m.89: Callejon. 3-0, m.92: Callejon.


Betis 1 - 0 Real Madrid (Spanish League, Day 13)

Real Madrid were unable to record their sixth consecutive victory after falling to defeat in Seville against Betis (1-0). Mourinho’s team clearly dominated the game and had several chances to score. This time the attack, one of the strengths of Mourinho’s team, did not translate into points, mainly because the home side’s goalkeeper, Adrian, played exceptionally well, clearing all the Whites’ chances. Betis defended, basing their game plan on counter-attacks and it paid off. Beñat scored the game’s goal in an isolated moved, after gathering the ball in the penalty arc and beating Casillas with a tight shot in the seventeenth minute. The referee failed to give a penalty for handball during the game’s closing minutes. Real Madrid, who had had three days’ rest after an important clash in the Champions League, sought the equaliser until the end of the clash.

Cristiano Ronaldo misses a chance to score against Betis
No goal for Real Madrid against Betis

After securing a position in the second round of the Champions League, Real Madrid travelled to the Benito Villamarin stadium with just one change from the clash on Wednesday; Özil for Modric. From the beginning of the match the Whites sought a goal and played a quick game, with a high tempo and direct play. A cross-shot from the right by Özil and a long shot by Cristiano Ronaldo that went over the goal of Adrian in the first five minutes of the match warned of the Whites’ intentions.

The Portuguese was particularly active on the left wing, and had two clear chances in the first fifteen minutes. The first, a fierce strike cleared by the Betis goalkeeper for a corner and the second, following up after Khedira’s shot. Mourinho’s players were clearly on top, while Betis sat deep and waited for the counter-attack.

An isolated move from the home side, who up until then had not shown up in attack, provided the clash’s only goal in the seventeenth minute. Beñat gathered a clearance by Di María in the penalty arc, went past Khedira and beat Casillas with a tight shot at the post. The Whites’ captain was unable to keep it out. Betis were sure of their plan: prevent Mourinho’s players from playing in the midfield and look for speedy counter-attacks. In the twenty-second minute Ruben Castro entered the area and struck the ball fiercely, but Casillas cleared the danger confidently.

With the scoreboard against them, Real Madrid continued to seek the home side’s goal with intent. Faced by a congested midfield, they sought to create danger down the wings, and the left wing in particular with Cristiano Ronaldo. The thirty-first minute saw one of the first half’s most clear chances. Di Maria was the protagonist after a one-two with Özil, but his shot deflected off the Betis defence and went over. The Whites dominated and sought the goal through all possible means, including free kicks. In the thirty-seventh minute Alonso took a free kick from the wing and Benzema’s finish ended up in the back of the net, but the goal was ruled out due to being offside.

Real Madrid still had 45 minutes to stage a fight back. Mourinho therefore made substitutions and brought on Modric and Kaka in place of Khedira and Özil. Both attempted to lend a spark to the Whites’ attack, and to a certain extent succeeded in doing so in the first moments of the second half. The Whites were on top and even Coentrão was a danger on the left-hand side. The only thing that was missing was the goal. One of the many moves by the Whites’ attack ended in a goal by Benzema, who collected an assist from Modric from a legal position, although the referee had blown for offside.

The attacks took place increasingly often and were becoming more and more dangerous for Adrian. The Betis goalkeeper became the home side’s hero by preventing two clear Madrid opportunities. First, he cleared a shot from the right by Cristiano, who made the most of a great pass behind the Andalusian defence in the sixtieth minute. Two minutes later, Kaka did not hesitate and shot for goal, but Adrian cleared. Real Madrid looked for the equaliser and Callejon joined the cause, replacing Di Maria with 27 minutes of the match remaining.

The pace of the clash slowed as the minutes ticked by. The reason; the excessive interruptions in the match due to fouls and the increasing fatigue of both teams. Despite Real Madrid being in control, Betis created chances on the counter-attack. Salva Sevilla cut in inside the area and was close to scoring the team’s second in the seventieth minute and two minutes later Ruben Castro shot wide after quick play by Jorge Molina. Meanwhile, the Whites attempted to score from free kicks. Ramos and Pepe came close to equalising from crosses by Xabi Alonso. In the eighty-second minute, Adrian cleared a fierce strike by Cristiano Ronaldo from a direct free kick.

The chances were becoming increasingly clear and Benzema had the opportunity to score the equaliser five minutes from the end. The French forward shot in the goalmouth after a header by Pepe, but once again Adrian prevented the goal. The Whites finished the match with long balls in search of a goal but this time around it was not to be. In the last move of the clash, the referee failed to award a penalty for a handball by Nosa after a cross by Kaka. Real Madrid now move on to thinking about the second leg of the last-sixteen clash in the Spanish Cup against Alcoyano, which will be their third match in as many competitions in less than a week.


Stadium: Benito Villamarin
Attendance: 35,000
Goals: 1-0 min.7 Beñat.
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