Photo: Real Madrid vs Valencia (Real Madrid)
Real Madrid made disgruntled fans forget the club’s disappointing performance in La Liga with an authoritative 2-0 victory over Valencia in Madrid in Tuesday’s first leg of the teams’ Copa del Rey quarterfinal clash.
It was the third consecutive clean sheet for veteran goalkeeper and team captain Iker Casillas, relegated to the bench in favor of the younger Antonio Adan until the new starter picked up a two-match suspension.
Real Madrid showed again that motivation can make up for less than sparkling play.
While the club sits in third place in La Liga, it has advanced to the knockout stage in the Champions League and emerged from Tuesday’s first leg with a good chance of grabbing a berth in the Copa del Rey semifinals.
A lapse by Valencia led to the first Real Madrid goal.
The visitors’ Dani Parejo lost the ball on a rush and four Valencia players failed to get back in time to stop a goal by Benzema in the 37th minute.
Seemingly undaunted, Valencia started the second half with the hope of getting out of the Bernabeu with a draw and the visitors briefly took control of the play, but they could not put the ball past Casillas.
An own goal by Valencia in the 73rd minute sealed the win for Real Madrid.