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COPA DEL REY

Vinicus has Bernabéu on its feet as Real Madrid beat Leganés

A first-half Sergio Ramos penalty and second-half goals from Lucas Vázquez and Vinicius calmed the nerves at the Bernabéu, though the 44,000 strong crowd had called for Florentino Pérez's resignation at half-time.

Update:
MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 09: Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid CF
  celebrates with Sergio Reguilon after scoring Real's 3rd goal during the Copa del Rey Round of 16 match between Real Madrid CF and CD Leganes at estadio Santiago Bernabeu on January 09,
Denis DoyleGetty Images

Real Madrid 3-0 Leganés: match report

Real Madrid notched their first win of 2019 with a 3-0 victory over Leganés in the Copa del Rey last 16 first leg at the Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday night.

A draw against Villarreal followed by a loss to Real Sociedad meant only 44,000 fans flocked to the Bernabéu for the midweek game but those who attended were treated to Real Madrid's best performance in a number of weeks, three goals and a clean sheet.

Isco was left on the bench again as his status in the squad continues to flummox. Marcelo, Modric, Varane and Carvajal were all rested with a congested fixture list in the coming weeks against top four rivals Real Betis and Sevilla.

It was one of the stand-ins who helped Real Madrid into the lead when Álvaro Odriozola was bundled over by Gerard Gumbau inside the penalty area as half-time approached. Sergio Ramos pulled rank on Karim Benzema and sent Carlos Cuellár the wrong way to score his 100th goal in professional football and his 80th in a Real Madrid shirt.

That came after Leganés had worked themselves into the game despite a shoddy start and had a couple of chances through new signing Martin Braithwaite, who tested Keylor Navas with one particularly good header from a corner that he saw saved.

Gumbau, booked for his challenge on Odriozola, was whipped off at half-time but Leganés struggled in the second half with the ball spending the majority of the time in their half for the remainder.

They didn't help themselves when, on 68 minutes, Bustinza passed the ball back to his keeper and left him seriously short. Benzema accepted the present handed to him and he played it to Vinicius, who squared again to Lucas Vazquez. After tearing his shirt in frustration after his red card on Sunday, he celebrated as his fortunes changed on this ocassion.

Vinicius, who had another positive night on the left-hand side of attack, volleyed home from a cross from the right to put the game and, more than likely, the tie on 77 minutes.

Brahim Díaz made his debut as a late sub for Vinicius and Isco was summoned for Lucas Vazquez but neither had a chance to do much given their limited time on the field.

Real Madrid will turn their attention not to Real Betis after this comfortable win and it should allow them to rest more of their starters in the return leg next week at Butarque with a healthy 3-0 lead in the tie.

Real Madrid vs Leganés live online: match updates and commentary

Real Madrid vs Leganés live online: preview

Leganés travel to the Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday night in an effort to compound Real Madrid's issues after Santiago Solari's side fell to Real Sociedad in the league on Sunday night. Leganés, under Mauricio Pellegrino, have improved recently but suffered defeat at Espanyol in the league at the weekend. It's the knock-out stages of the Copa del Rey with kick-off at 21:30 from the Spanish capital.

Real Madrid are missing six players from their first team squad through injury. Thibaut Courtois was the latest to be added to that list on Wednesday and he joins Gareth Bale, who was fined recently for leaving the stadium early during the Real Sociedad defeat, Marco Asensio, Marcos Llorente, Toni Kroos and Mariano Díaz. Brahim Díaz is in the squad, however, after his paperwork was sorted out ahead of the game having sealed his move from Manchester City on Monday.

Mauricio Pellegrino says he thinks Leganés "have the players to face this elimination tie with confidence" but admits it is difficult to play on Wednesday and again on Saturday when they welcome Huesca to Butarque in the suburbs of Madrid. The Argentine manager led Alavés to the Copa del Rey final, which they lose to Barcelona, but he has a knack for guiding teams into the deeper stages of the competition. He will be hoping to induce that same spirit with Leganés this season with 

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