Málaga vs. Real Madrid  0 - 1


Copa del Rey wrap: Howler helps Real, Mallorca strike six

11 January 2012 00:30

Copa del Rey holders Real Madrid edged through to the final eight of the tournament on Tuesday, while Mallorca cruised through.

Real beat fellow La Liga side Malaga 1-0 at La Rosaleda, courtesy of a howler from home goalkeeper Willy Caballero, to wrap up the two-legged round-of-16 affair 4-2 on aggregate and set-up a likely quarter-final with rivals Barcelona.

Karim Benzema's tame shot on the Malaga goal midway through the second half looked to have been a comfortable task for Caballero, before the ball slipped through his legs and rolled over the line, much to the relief of Jose Mourinho's men.

The match began at an intense level as both teams used high lines to furiously pressure each other. Attempting to work around their opposition's high tempo style of play, Real began to play a possession game and slowly took control of the flow of play.

The hosts responded well, led by the bombarding wing-play of Nacho Monreal and Sergio Sanchez. Both struck crosses into the Madrid 18-yard box, looking to test the aerial capabilities of the Madrid defence.

Continuing to run at Mourinho's men, Eliseu Pereira had the home fans on their feet when he beat Fabio Coentrao on the dribble, cut inside and unleashed a rocket from 25 yards which just went wide of the post.

Against the flow of play, Madrid earned a great chance to open scoring when a Cristiano Ronaldo back-heel isolated Sami Khedira on the left. The Germany international sent a looping effort towards goal which was batted away by Caballero.

Khedira not only missed an opportunity to earn an advantage for his side, but also injured himself on the play, forcing a substitution that introduced Mesut Ozil into the game.

After a dull beginning to the second-half, a Lassana Diarra cross from the left found an open Ronaldo, who had his near-perfect header from a few yards out majestically saved by Caballero.

After a string of excellent saves, however, a fatal error by Caballero cost his side the game.

On a lightning-quick counterattack, Ozil picked out Benzema on the left. The Frenchman attempted to curl the ball around Caballero but sent it directly at his figure. However, the veteran goalkeeper allowed the ball to pass through his legs and slowly roll into the back of the net.

Elsewhere, Mallorca dug themselves out of a deep hole in their second leg, arresting a deficit to beat Real Sociedad 6-1 at Iberostar Estadi.

Sociedad took a 2-0 lead into the second leg, and extended their aggregate advantage to three after 16 minutes through Diego Ifran.

But Mallorca struck back devastatingly, scoring four times in six minutes just prior to half-time to not only get themselves back in the match, but to lead on aggregate 4-3 at the break.

Second-half strikes to Alfaro and Tomer Hamed further killed off any possible Sociedad resistance, as Mallorca booked a quarter-final face-off with either of Albacete or Athletic Bilbao.

Hemed and Gonzalo Castro both netted braces for Mallorca.

Finally, Segunda B side Mirandes ousted La Liga's Racing Santander from the competition 3-1 on aggregate, with a 1-1 away draw in the second leg.

Mirandes will meet either Cordoba or Espanyol in the final eight.

La Liga table

# Team MP D P
16 19 -11 18
17 19 -13 18
18 19 -16 16
19 19 -20 11
20 19 -32 11

La Liga table

# Team MP D P
2 19 +20 42
3 19 +21 40
4 18 +15 32
5 19 +5 31
6 19 -5 29