Madrid take slender lead in Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg

Madrid, Jan 22: Spanish giants Real Madrid recorded a slender 1-0 win over Espanyol in the first leg of Copa del Rey knockout competition.

Karim Benzema’s headed goal midway through the first half Tuesday was enough to separate the two sides in an entertaining game in which Madrid’s superior firepower was again the difference against a rival which worked hard, but struggled in front of a side which has kept six clean sheets in a row, reports Xinhua.

Benzema’s goal came after 25 minutes when Alvaro Arbeloa’s cross from the right was flicked on and he reached quickly to direct the ball past Kiko Casillla in the Espanyol goal.

Wednesday sees FC Barcelona travel to face Levante, who held them to a 1-1 draw in the BBVA Primera Liga at the weekend, while Real Sociedad entertain third tier Racing Santander, who have knocked Granada and Almeria out of the competition.

The first leg ties end Thursday as Atletico Madrid entertain Athletic Club Bilbao in what promises to be the most entertaining tie of the round.

IANS