Melilla-Real Madrid, Copa del Rey: match report, as it happened
Goals from Benzema, Asensio, Odriozola and Cristo give Madrid a comfortable first victory for interim coach Santiago Solari in the Copa del Rey.
Melilla vs Real Madrid: match report
Santiago Solari got off to the perfect start as Real Madrid's interim coach when his side thrashed Melilla 4-0 in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday. In their first match since Julen Lopetegui was sacked after a dire run capped by a 5-1 loss to Barcelona on Sunday which left the European champions ninth in La Liga, Solari's side dominated their fourth-tier opponents.
Solari saved the likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos the trip to the north coast of Africa and the Spanish enclave of Melilla, but did start with captain Sergio Ramos and striker Karim Benzema in the round of 32 first-leg clash. Frenchman Benzema, who has struggled for form this season, broke the deadlock from close range after being teed up by Alvaro Odriozola. Real doubled their lead just before halftime after good work from Vinicius Junior, who found Marco Asensio in the box and the Spaniard fired home.
Brazilian striker Vinicius, largely ignored by Lopetegui, struck the crossbar in search of the third, which was eventually bundled in by Odriozola, another player who struggled to get minutes under Lopetegui. Substitute Cristo Gonzalez added a fourth in stoppage time to give Solari a convincing debut win. The second-leg matches take place between Decemeber 4-6.
UD Melilla - Real Madrid live online: match commentary
UD Melilla - Real Madrid live online: preview
It's a new era at Real Madrid after the firing of Julen Lopetegui on Monday night. Santiago Solari enters the fray as the manager and will take the team on a provisional basis until Real Madrid can either find a full-time manager that fits their criteria or until the Argentine can convince them of his ability to do the job. His first task is a first ever trip to Africa to play the Copa del Rey against Melilla (you can read about Melilla, where it is and why they play in the Spanish Copa del Rey right here).
Real Madrid travelled to Melilla with 19 players and left behind Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos but included several players from Castilla with the youngest being centre-half Adrián de la Fuente. It could be an antirely new look team as Solari tries to give minutes to players on the periphery in an effort to figure out who can offer something to the first team. Vinicius is seen as one of those players and he could start after Solari mentioned him in his first press conference on Tuesday as someone "who has a lot to learn and a lot to give."
Solari has plenty to do in the next week or two but said his main objective is to beat Melilla. He wants warriors on the field on Wednesday and says, "We have to go out to win, with a group of champions that feel hurt. We need to go out and change that."