Unfortunately, we don't have an FA Cup in Spain. Unfortunately, the Spanish Copa del Rey is a two legged round-based competition and this yields games like the one we "enjoyed" tonight more than often. Real Madrid travelled to Xàtiva, a small town with 30.000 inhabitants in the province of Valencia, to face the local team, the Olímpic de Xàtiva, in the first round of the Cup in which the teams in first division take part.
Even with the absences of Alonso -playing on artificial turf is not good for the injury he just recovered from-, Ronaldo -still recovering from his injury, and suspended due to the red card he received in the last Copa del Rey final, against Atlético de Madrid- and Bale -who stayed in Madrid with flu symptoms-, playing against a team in 2ª B, the Spanish third division, seemed an easy task for Ancelotti's players. However, the enthusiasm shown by the locals, together with the apathy in the merengues, prevented the scoreboard to change, so the game ended as it started, with a 0-0.
It is a bit lazy of me to tell this, but the game was boring, really boring, and perhaps there is not much more to say about it. Ancelotti decided to give a rest to some of the most important players, and put Casillas; Carvajal, Ramos, Nacho, Arbeloa; Casemiro, Illarramendi; Di María, Isco, Jesé and Morata on the field. The amount of offensive talent in this lineup is evident, but so was the lack of tension today. It seemed that the only objective of our players was to hold on to the ball and avoid any defensive risks throughout the match. On the other side, our rivals' intentions were much clearer: defend themselves as much as possible and keep clear of a hammer.
Barely nothing happened in the first half: our only chance to score came in a header by Casemiro that was saved by Francis, the local goalkeeper. The entrance of Marcelo and Benzema in the second half, together with the efforts posed by Isco, shook up our attacks a little, causing a few chances -Jesé, Benzema, Isco- to score the first goal, but it never arrived. The nap -sorry, the game- ended with a lot of happiness in the Valencian players, who left the field with good souvenirs and, more importantly, filled with the sensation of a well done job. Happily for us, we should not be in trouble to beat them and move on to the round of the last sixteen in ten days time, in Santiago Bernabéu.