Struggling as they are in LaLiga, a fine result in the Copa del Rey came to Real Madrid’s rescue. One that raises the spirits. They beat, with one version of their starting line-up in attack and several second string players from the midfield to the back, a Leganés B team who were still in it at half-time and had even created the odd chance. But a penalty for a foul on Odriozola just before the break and a gift just after the restart knocked the stuffing out of them. As to the gift - a bad pass from Bustiniza to Cuéllar - it requires further explanation: Benzema, alert to everything in this new era of his, guessed correctly, nicked the ball and passed to Vinicius, who moved the ball on smartly to Lucas Vázquez for him to finish into an empty net.
Real Madrid finished Leganés with their second goal
That second goal was the end of the match, because it put an end to Leganés’ desire. Up to then they’d played a prudent match, waiting, coping with Odriozola’s incursions - he’s more active going forward than Reguilón - and from time to time going on the counter and coming close on the odd occasion. But their attacks ended either in the lack of a final touch, or that final touch being stopped by Keylor Navas, who is still there and, by the way, will be back in goals in LaLiga, given Courtois’ injury. But, as I was saying, with 2-0 on the scoreboard that was the end of Leganés for the night and the attention of the crowd (a small one - the Bernabéu is emptying before our eyes) ended up focused on what Vinicius could do, and, above all, the hoped for appearance of Brahim.
Brahim came on, went out right and the truth is did very little. His dribbles didn’t come off, although he was active and dropped back energetically when required. Vinicius on the other hand, while he wasn’t as good as he was against Real Sociedad, was a real presence in the match and scored a fine goal, smashing home a ball in the air from the tireless Odriozola, Madrid’s main weapon going forward. A fine strike from the fans' new favourite, like the ones he scored before coming to the Bernabéu. Taken together it was a good match for Real Madrid, one which pretty much settles the tie and lifts, momentarily, the depression. Madrid now head to play Betis a lot happier than they were.