Real Madrid take first leg lead in Copa del Rey

Madrid, Jan 10: Real Madrid virtually took a big step towards the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey knockout competition in Spain with a 2-0 win over Osasuna in the first step of their last 16 tie.

Both teams fielded strong sides for the game Thursday and Madrid opened the scoring after 19 minutes when Karim Benzema finished off a good ball from the left, which was sent over by Luka Modric, Xinhua reported.

Madrid enjoyed the better of the game, but it was not until past the hour when they doubled their lead when a poor backpass from Osasuna captain Patxi Punal allowed Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo to set up youngster Jese Rodriguez to score his side’s second.

The goal confirmed Jese’s excellent moment of form and the youngster is winning over of the fans in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on the same day that his fellow striker, Alvaro Morata said he would not close the door to an exit if he didn’t get any opportunities to show his ability at the club.

Jese’s night ended in the 69th minute as he was replaced by Isco after suffering what appeared to be a muscle injury.

There were no further goals but Madrid have a comfortable cushion to take to next week’s return leg in Pamplona.

At the same time Rayo Vallecano, who are second from bottom of the BBVA Primera Liga in a game which finished in a tedious 0-0 draw.

Earlier in the day, Real Sociedad and Villarreal, who will play each other in the league next Monday, also drew 0-0 in Real Sociedad’s Anoeta Stadium.

Wednesday saw Barcelona beat Getafe 4-0 with two goals from Cesc Fabrigas and two from a fit-again Leo Messi, while Betis defeated Athletic Club Bilbao 1-0 and second division Alcorcon beat Espanyol 1-0.

Cup holders Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 away to Valencia Tuesday.

IANS