There was little drama in the Cultural Leonesa and Real Madrid clash in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night as the visiting side cruised to a 7-1 victory despite some promising spells from the Leon side.
Magic Marco Asensio
The 20-year-old has scored in every competition he has debuted in with Real Madrid this season. There was the UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla, the La Liga victory over Real Sociedad and Real´s victory over Legia Warsaw in the Champions League.
He continued that trend when his left-footed strike struck the Leonesa net in the first half to make the score 2-0 after a Gianni own goal had given los Blancos the lead.
Headache for Zidane?
There will be no doubting that Real Madrid understand the context of this 7-1 win but Isco continues to improve having failed to impress earlier in the season. Alvaro Morata got two goals and looked dangerous all night after his winner on Sunday night against Athletic Bilbao. James also played the full game and looked good, if not a little rusty, given his lack of game-time in recent weeks.
Cultural Leonesa have their work cut out for them in the second leg and while qualifying for the next round might seem like an abstract possibility, they can rest assured that they troubled Real Madrid´s defense for much of the night and systematically designed plenty of chances that many teams in the top flight are incapable of doing against a team with Real Madrid´s ability.
As it happened:
Cultural Leonesa vs. Real Madrid: second half
FT | The referee ends proceedings as Real Madrid run out comfortable winners at the Reino de Leon on a socreline of 1-7.
Min 92 | GOAL! Mariano with another header. This time he hits it with the sweet spot of his head and gives Real Madrid a 7-1 lead.
Min 90 | As the clock strikes 90 minutes, Gallar - who else? - finds himself with space in front of Real Madrid´s goals. Unless you´re tuning into the Great British Bake-Off Final tonight, you won´t see a bigger slice tonight! His left-footed shot and his reaction sum up Leonesa´s night.
Min 88 | Gallar, who has been Leonesa´s brightest spark tonight, almost doubles his sides score. He can´t get his effort on target however as his left-footed shot bends the wrong way around Casilla´s goalpost.
Min 84 | GOAL! It might be just a consolation but Benja drives past Casilla as Real Madrid´s hopes of a clean sheet disappear. 6-1 now and Cutltural just have to score five at the Bernabeu to stand a chance of making it through to the next round of the Copa del Rey.
Min 82 | Mariano with an awakward looking header from a Coentrao cross. The ball seemed to come off his shoulder and rolled into Palatsi´s hands.
Leonesa looking out on their feet now as Real Madrid take their foot off the pedal. Not a bad night´s work so far by any standard!
Min 77 | Gallar draws a top save from Casilla with a long-range effort that was curling inside the post. Might be the best chance Leonesa will have of landing a consolation goal.
Min 74 | Coentrao invoking his inner Ronaldo as he makes a mazy run down the left-hand side. He twists and turns but he loses the ball after doing a large chunk of the hard work.
Min 71 | Ortiz has a shot that goes just wide of Casilla´s post. Decent effort, something that are becoming increasingly rare for the home side, but the Real Madrid keeper looked as though he might have had it covered.
Min 68 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! Nacho gets an absolute screamer. By far the goal of the game. He scissor-kicked beyond Palatsi, who had no chance as the ball looped into the net.
Min 67 | Kroos looks for Vazquez with a long and high ball over the top but it is just out of reach. If anyone could pull off something like that, Kroos might have been the man.
Min 64 | Mariano replaces Isco, who was heavily involved in everything positive Real Madrid did for the 60 odd minutes he was on the field.
Min 62 | Toni Villa is replaced by Toure as Rubén De la Barrera Fernández makes one last throw of the dice.
Min 61 | Coentrao with a run and cross that almost sets up Isco for Real Madrid´s sixth.
Min 58 | Fabio Coentrao makes his long awaited comeback as he comes one for Danilo.
Min 55 | GOAL! That´s five as Morata turns in the ball after a delightful outside of the boot cross from James. Goal number two for the imposing number nine!
Min 53 | GOAL! Asesnsio with his second and Real´s fourth. Another lovley strike with his left but you have to feel as though Palatsi could have done better. He was caught wrong-footed and had no chance of saving.
Min 52 | Colinas makes some strides down the endline but just as he is about to send it across the Real Madrid box, he takes a heavy touch and loses possession.
Min 50 | Dani Carvajal is down having received a heavy knock and is being tested on the sideline now to ensure he is good to continue. It appears he is.
Min 48 | Morata and James combine to cause chaos in Leonesa´s penalty area but neither can score and James is ruled offside in any case.
Min 47 | GOAL! Morata with number three within 35 seconds. James plays the striker through and he slots home to put Real Madrid out of reach.
Min 46 | The referee´s whistle gets us underway at the Reino de Leon.
No changes for either side as we get ready for the second half.
Real Madrid with two first half goals through a Gianni own goal and a Marco Asensio strike. The visiting Madrid side have had the majority of the chances and could be out of sight by Leonesa remain in touch. One of the biggest talking points of the half has bene Toni Kroos receiving a headbutt in front of the referee from Yeray Gonzalez with just a yellow card as punishment.
Cultural Leonesa vs. Real Madrid: first half
Min 45 | James tries to bend one beyond Palatsi but it is just wide of the post. Half-time fast approaching and it seems Leonesa will be glad to hear the ref´s whistle.
Min 44 | Morata again as he tries to backheel an Asensio cross into the goal. Decent effort but very difficult to execute.
Min 41 | Morata comes close to making it three for Real Madrid but his shot is saved by Palatsi. The ball struck the goalkeeper´s leg as it looked destined for the back of the net.
Without trying to sound condascending to Real Madrid´s opposition, they have looked very much at home here against one of Europe´s heavyweights despite trailing 2-0. They have had chances, which they fashioned for themselves with some slick football.
Min 36 | Yeray Gonzalez and Toni Kroos get involved in some extra-curricular activity following a late tackle by the Leonesa player. Kroos appeared to be struck in front of the ref but Gonzalez only receives a booking. The German is incensed.
Min 32 | Marco Asensio scored Real Madrid´s second with a left-footed strike across his body and that just looked so easy for the visitors. 2-0.
Asensio has now scored in every competition he has debuted in for Real Madrid. That includes goals in La Liga, the Champions League and now the Copa del Rey. Believe the hype!
Min 31 | Leonesa try to break at speed but Colinas loses out in the final third. The home side win the ball back but again possession and a good chance to equalise is spurned.
Min 28 | Real Madrid concede possession thanks to some nifty Leonesa pressing high up the field but Gallar drives over from range.
Min 25 | Toni Kroos with a sliced effort from outside the box. It almost finds its way into Leonesa´s goal but it had too muchy air on it.
Min 24´| Morata wins a free just outside the box as Ivan Gonzalez grabs a handful of his jersey. Will someone tell him he can just swap his jersey with the Real Madrid striker after the game?
Min 21 | Gallar with Leonesa´s best chance so far. He finds himself in an excellent position after a lovely flick by Ortiz but his side-footed effort can´t make its way past Casilla.
Min 19 | Substitution for Leonesa inside 20 minutes as captain Antonio Martinez leaves the field to be replaced by Orti. He took a knock that he could not shake off.
Min 18 | Isco lining up a volley on the edge of the square but the ball is nicked off the top of his toe. That followed a heavy spell of pressure from Real Madrid, who are looking lethal once they enter Leonesa´s penalty area.
Min 17 | Lucas Vazquez with a foul on Toni to take the sting out of the game.
Min 15 | Leonesa are looking very calm on the ball and working it out from the back but whether they have the creativity in attack to really trouble Real Madrid remains to be seen.
Min 12 | Real Madrid finding plenty of joy down their right hand-side. Another chance coming from a Lucas Vazquez cross from that area.
Min 10 | Very dangerous cross from Morata across Leonesa´s goal is almost turned in by Asensio. It flies over the crossbar though. Close call!
Min 8 | Gallar tests Casilla but it´s a routine save for the Real Madrid goalkeeper.
Min 6 | GOAL! Gianni turns the ball into his own net frollowing an outswinging cross from Toni Kroos from a free kick on the right-hand side. 1-0 to Real Madrid.
Min 4 | Vazquez forces a save from Palatsi with a shot from distance. Real Madrid settling into the game now.
Min 3 | Leonesa looking comfortable in the very early stages. They don´t seem overawed by their opponents so far.
Min 1 | We are underway at the Reino de Leon.
Cultural Leonesa vs. Real Madrid: Starting line-ups
Cultural Leonesa: Palatsi, Angel, Fornies, Gianni, Ivan Gonzalez, Yeray Gonzalez, Julen Colinas, Mario Ortiz, Toni, Antonio Martinez, Gallar
Real Madrid: Casilla, Carvajal, Danilo, Pepe, Nacho, Kroos, James, Isco, Morata, Asensio, Lucas Vazquez
Cultural Leonesa v Real Madrid: latest news
20:48 | Some enoyable reading before the game. Provided you don´t know much about the Reino de Leon, Leonesa´s home ground, this tells you everything you need to know.
20:42 | We really can´t get enough of this video. Is he the master of showboatery? We just can´t figure out why he got a yellow card? he didn´t do anything wrong!
20:25 | James Rodriguez also gets a start as he looks to convince Zinedine Zidane of his worth to the team. His last appearence in the leaguye was in September during Real´s 1-1 draw with Villarreal.
20:15 | Just 45 minutes to go and the team news is in. It´s the only game in Spain tonight but we understand there are plenty of people torn between whether to watch the football or the Great British Bake-Off final! Make the right decision.
20:01 | No BBC for Real Madrid tonight as Lucas Vazquez, Morata and Asensio get the nod.
19:51 | Much has been made of the gulf between tonight's two teams, but they do have one thing in common at least: they're both yet to be beaten so far this season. Indeed, Cultural are on a nine-game winning streak in all competitions...
19:14 | There has been plenty of rain in Spain recently but rest assured, the temperature in Leon for the game tonight will be a balmy 14 degrees. Not bad for the end of October and perfect conditions for football.
18:49 | It seems former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas would rather dine with a random person on Twitter than some of his most recent managers and teammates.
18:21 | Chances are we won't get to see Lucas Silva tonight but it is promising to see his return to Real Madrid following some health issues. His teammates took no time to welcome him back to training by mocking his running style recently!
16:47 | Team news: Zinedine Zidane is set to hand reserve striker Mariano his full debut tonight, AS can reveal.
15:54 | Who said that domestic cup competitions don't matter anymore? Demand has been so hot for tonight's game that Cultural Leonesa welcomed 400 new season ticket holders last week. It may have something to do with the fact that the club were -- rather cunningly -- offering preferential purchase options for the Madrid match to any new socios! Needless to say, tickets sold out very quickly.
15:15 | With the absence of the BBC then, tonight will be another big opportunity for Álvaro Morata to convince Zinedine Zidane that he's worthy of a starting place. In fact, despite the Spaniard's bit-part role this season, he's actually Real Madrid's most prolific striker according to the stats.
14:15 | ICYMI: Zinedine Zidane announced his squad for tonight's Copa del Rey match in Leon...and there's no place for the BBC!
13:22 | Good afternoon! We'll be bring you all the latest news and pre-match build up throughout the day right up until kick-off at 21:00 CET. For starters, you can take a read of our match preview (below).
Cultural Leonesa v Real Madrid: match preview
Real Madrid travel to Leon in the northwest of Spain to face 2B leaders (Group I) Cultural Leonesa at the 13,451 capacity Reino de Leon stadium in the fourth round of the 2016/17 Copa del Rey. The first-leg match has been brought forward due to the FIFA Club World Cupin December. The return leg, meanwhile, will not be played at the Santiago Bernabeu on November 30.
Ever since the draw for the Copa del Rey fourth round was made, the entire city of León has had only goal: to acquire a ticket for the match against Real Madrid in the Reino de León stadium on October 26.
Such has been the high demand, Cultural added a special offer for the occasion: the chance to buy a season ticket for the rest of the campaign at 115 euros with preferential purchase options for the Madrid game. By Tuesday last week, the club had 400 new season ticket holders. No surprise then that tonight’s game is a total sellout.
Aside from the visit of the famous royal white club, there is a buzz about Cultural Leon in general, not just because they are currently top of Segunda B (Group I) but because with the recent arrival of QatarI investors from the renowned Aspire Academy, the club has become one of the most talked about in non-professional football.
Excitement about the future is palpable, and the immediate aim of the current owners is to get the club into the Segunda Division A as soon as possible. Having brought in some of the very best young talent from the Middle East this summer, the investment seems to already be paying off with the team flying high the league.
The Copa del Rey encounter against the European Champions on Wednedsay evening will really be a test of small club’s big ambitions, however.
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed on Tuesday the sixteen players who will make the three hour journey north-west in the first leg of the two Copa del Rey legged tie.
The big team news is that the side’s BBC frontline (Benzema, Bale and Cristiano) is rested and not in the squad, meaning the out-of-sorts Ronaldo will have to wait until at least the weekend for the trip to Alavés to try get back amongst the goals and silence the boo-boys.
Even without their star attacking force, Real Madrid – who lie top of LaLiga after their win over Athletic Club on Sunday – will be expected to brush aside the Segunda side with ease, with Zidane still expected to name a strong lineup despite the minnow opposition.
The tie then will be a great opportunity for Álvaro Morata – Real Madrid’s most prolific scorer this season, despite hit bit-part role – to continue to prove his worth to the side. Likewise the game could also present a chance for reserve players Mariano, Coentrao and Nacho to show what they can do and perhaps give Zidane one or two more things to think about.
In short, such is the gulf in quality of the two teams (despite Leon’s grand ambitions), anything but a win for Real Madrid in Leon on Wednesday would go down as one of Spanish football’s bigger shocks in recent memory.
Cultural Leonesa v Real Madrid: live buildup
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