The game itself was nothing to write home about but the extra time was scintillating. That's how I'd describe Thursday's contest in Elche as Real Madrid prevailed, despite going behind and being forced to play with a man less after Marcelo saw red in extra time. It was a fine team effort but credit particularly goes to three players who didn't feature in Ancelotti's starting XI. Ceballos was key in snuffing out an Elche counter and provided Isco the assist in netting the equalizer. Hazard too was pivotal in win with the Belgian latching on to a through ball and did well to steer past Werner in the Elche goal to secure the extra time winner.
Real Madrid looked to be in trouble in extra time with Marcelo's red card which led to Elche opening the scoring. The home side were playing well and came close to securing a famous win and who knows how the contest would have panned out had Ceballos not intervened to block that Elche effort. Ancelotti's men never threw in the towel and Elche felt aggrieved to have had a last minute goal that would have made things 2-2, ruled out. I do however feel there was a foul in the build-up. A fine ending to a game that started bland and predictable. Real Madrid move into the quarter-final stage with everyone annoyed with the referee by the end of the contest.
The action then moved to the Basque Country as we witnessed a cup tie that had everything. A classic Copa clash played under driving rain with both sides doing their bit to add to the drama and excitement. Athletic dictated the rhythm of the action with Nico Williams causing havoc on the right hand side. Barcelona were forced to come from behind twice on the evening with Marcelino's men securing the winner in extra time after a 'ball to hand' from Jordi Alba in the box led to a penalty which Muniain slotted away. Athletic march on to the quarter-final but Barcelona played their part in the exciting contest and can walk away with their heads held high.