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Los Blancos survive Copa del Rey upset as hosts puts up fight

Joselu was among the goals / Florencia Tan Jun/GettyImages
Real Madrid advanced to the last 16 of the Copa del Rey with a routine win at fourth-tier side Arandina on Saturday night.

Los Blancos’ defence of the national cup began with a trip to El Montecillo, where their hosts put up an admirable fight before eventually succumbing to an expected defeat.

Carlo Ancelotti made several changes to his lineup and there was a lack of cohesion at times, but Real Madrid’s talent ultimately helped see them to victory.

Real Madrid went close to taking an 11th-minute lead when Brahim Diaz carried the ball into the Arandina box, and though he was tackled cleanly, Eduardo Camavinga was on hand to strike the loose ball, with his effort whistling past the far post via a deflection.

Debutant Arda Guler forced goalkeeper Adrian into a smart save soon after with a fierce strike towards the near post after finding a pocket of space on the right of the Arandina penalty area. Guler nearly broke the deadlock with a fine free-kick from 20 yards, rattling the outside of the Arandina post.

Long throws were causing Real Madrid plenty of problems down the other end, and the hosts were furious when Diaz was not punished when the ball appeared to strike his arm at the end of a worked routine.

Another chance went begging for Real Los Blancos as Fran Garcia’s cross was graciously brought down by the long legs of Joselu, but he fired into the side net.

Arandina looked threatening on the break at the start of the second half before Real Madrid spurned another chance, with Diaz curling a strike past the post after making his way to the edge of the six-yard box.

With the clock rolling over to 53 minutes, Real Madrid were awarded a penalty when Diaz was tripped by Zazu. Joselu then stepped up and scored from 12 yards.

Almost immediately from the resulting kick-off, Los Blancos doubled their lead. Diaz drove right through the Arandina defence and shifted play wide to Joselu to cross, and though a defender managed to initially clear the ball, the diminutive forward was on hand to lash the rebound into the bottom corner.

Joselu should have added a third goal late when Real Madrid broke at pace, but he fired high into the stands from close range.

Substitute Rodrygo capped off the win in stoppage time with a well-taken goal from just inside the box, setting himself before firing into the far corner.

There was still time for Arandina to find a consolation, with Raly Cabral’s low cross deflecting in off of Nacho Fernandez.

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