Real Madrid are through to the quarterfinals of the Copa Del Rey after a second-leg draw against Numancia in their Round-of-16 tie at the Bernabeu. Lucas Vasquez secured the passage as he bagged a brace en-route to Real’s 5-2 aggregate win.
Zinedine Zidane, as expected, fielded the reserve players for the match with only Nacho starting from the side that drew against Celta Vigo last weekend; and Dani Carvajal was the only other noted starter in the line-up.
Real Madrid got an early goal as Lucas Vasquez managed to beat the visiting team’s offside trap and headed in a quality cross from Carvajal from the right to make it 1-0. It is satisfying to see that one of our full backs are now managing to contribute again in creating a goal, which was very instrumental in our success last campaign.
From then on, Real Madrid had the bulk of possession and controlled the game. The players were full of life and energy as they created chance after chance but couldn't add to their lead, and then when Numancia was given the opportunity for a counter-attack they took it rapidly, with little to no delay. It only took them two passes — Dani Nieto orchestrated the counter from the half as he played the ball down the left to Mateu, who then delivered a low cross to the middle for Guillermo to finish the attack in what was a surprising equalizer for Numancia right before the half.
Carvajal failed to tracked back on Mateu which left Jesus Vallejo a few steps too late to close down the Numancia player and prevent the cross. Nacho also could have done better in closing down Guillermo for the equalizing goal.
The second half started with more of the same for Real Madrid as they controlled the match by maintaining possession, creating chances, and imposing their superiority of attacking players such as Dani Ceballos and Marco Asensio. And then their imperativeness would be rewarded as Mateo Kovacic suddenly (and powerfully) turned defense into attack by finding Asensio down the left wing who then floated a cross to Borja Mayoral to feed the ball to the feet of Lucas Vasquez for an emphatic goal from close-range.
Even though Real Madrid were leading 2-1 with 30 minutes to go, Numancia didn't give up and created chances for themselves. In the 78th minute, Numancia thought that they would have levelled again, this time from the right wing, but Kovacic was able to get in front of Pere Milla to intercept the cross in front of goal.
Moments later, our Nacho cleared the ball with his head but it fell to Saul Garcia who then crossed the ball inside the penalty area while Guillermo managed to outmuscle Nacho with a quality header that beat Kiko Casilla for Numancia’s second goal.
It was a back-and-forth contest for the last 10 minutes of the match as both teams tried to search for the winning goal. At the dying seconds, Isco was poised to make one final run at goal but then Dani Calvo decided to dragg him down for his second yellow card and sending-off, which would be the final moment of the match.
This result will surely add to the growing criticism of Zinedine Zidane after a lackluster performance of the team during the first half of the campaign. The goal-scoring chances are there, but the finishing is sub-par most of the time. A lot of crosses are served but there are no proven headers of the ball in the line-up. Zizou must step-up his tactical nous if he wants to see an improvement in his team performance.
Real Madrid need to take this Cup more seriously from now on if they intend to have a chance of lifting a trophy this year.
2.- Real Madrid: Casilla; Carvajal (Achraf, min. 46), Vallejo, Nacho, Theo; Kovacic, Llorente, Ceballos; Lucas, Mayoral (Casemiro, min. 77), Asensio (Isco, min. 62).
2.- Numancia: Munir; Unai Medina (Markel, min. 72), Elgezabal, Dani Calvo, Saul; Larrea, Mateu (Pere Milla, min. 66), Grego; Dani Nieto, Higinio (Guillermo, min. 41), Nacho.
1-0, min. 11: Lucas Vazquez
1-1, min. 45: Guillermo
2-1, min. 59: Lucas Vazquez
2-2, min. 83: Guillermo
Referee: Munuera Montero (Andalusian).
Yellow Cards: Grego (Min. 18) for Numancia, Dani Calvo (Min. 84) for Numancia, Casemiro (Min. 87) for Real Madrid, Dani Calvo (Min. 93) for Numancia
Red cards: Dani Calvo (Min. 93) for Numancia
Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu