Real Madrid put a foot in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey as they earned a 0-1 win over Espanyol at Cornella El Prat, the same result they had obtained nine days ago in La Liga.
Karim Benzema’s header did justice for Los Merengues, as they controlled the game from the beginning. However, goalkeeper Kiko Casilla prevented them from getting a better result for the second leg.
Carlo Ancelotti didn’t finally line-up Isco in the striker position, as he had suggested in a previous press conference. The Andalucian was left on the bench and the Italian displayed his usual BBC forward line: Benzema, Bale and Cristiano.
Los Blancos had a bright start, getting the ball down and enjoying plenty of possession. Ancelotti had ordered his men to press high up the pitch and Espanyol struggle to settle on the ball.
Real nearly went in front as Ronaldo came into the box from the right and sent a shot wide of the far post. The Portuguese was close to scoring again in the 21st minute, firing a shot towards the bottom left corner that hit the post.
Los Merengues were in total control and they finally made it 0-1. Alvaro Arbeloa sent a cross from the right, Bale flicked it on and Benzema dove forward to head the ball into the back of the net.
Espanyol tried to equalize in the second half. Sergio Garcia was very active, but Madrid’s defence worked well to break up all his attacks.
Ronaldo missed a great chance to seal the victory as he headed a cross from Di Maria straight to the bar.
At the hour mark, the visitors begun to move up the gears again, but Espanyol’s goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, who grew up at Real’s youth teams, denied all Madrid efforts with fantastic saves.
The hosts also had a good chance for equalising in the last minutes, but Iker Casillas made a massive save to block Jhon Cordoba’s shot.