Real Madrid have virtually booked their place in the Copa del Rey fifth round after demolishing Segunda B side Cultural Leonesa 7-1 on Wednesday.
Despite being seven players different from Sunday’s 2-1 win against Athletic Bilbao in La Liga, Madrid started with none of their Castilla youngsters. Cultural, meanwhile, headed into the game on a high as they topped Group 1 of the Segunda B Division, having thrashed Mutilvera 5-1 at the weekend.
Los Blancos were famously expelled from last season’s Copa after they fielded the ineligible Denis Cheryshev against Cadiz at the same stage, and they went some way towards avenging that humiliation, former West Brom full-back Gianni Zuiverloon taking just six minutes to divert a corner into his own net.
The capital giants continued their assault on the hosts’ goal throughout the opening stages, Isco particularly coming close from a pair of a snapshots and a header, which was only kept out by Jorge Palatsi’s positioning between the sticks.
Cultural then almost scored a shock equaliser through Alex Gallar, Madrid’s thorn all night, as he ran onto Juan Colinas’s deft flick but failed to beat Kiko Casilla one on one.
The visitors capitalised moments later, when Lucas Vazquez was freely able to cut the ball back for Marco Asensio. The starlet took a touch before nestling a finish past the home goalkeeper.
The game then took a controversial turn as Toni Kroos was wiped out with a late challenge by Yeray Gonzalez, who then headbutted the German. However, the incident went amiss by the referee.
Madrid subsequently came out for the second half with fire running through their veins as Morata profited from a flick and coolly finished through the legs of Palatsi for the first of three Merengues goals in nine minutes.
Asensio confirmed the rout with a curling finish from just inside the box, before Morata met James’ cross via the outside of his boot and slides the finish past Palatsi!
With the result now secure, Zinedine Zidane took the opportunity to bring on Fabio Coentrao, who made his first Madrid appearance in over a year, having spent the past year on loan at Monaco and suffering from injuries.
Morata may have failed to half-volley home Madrid’s sixth of the evening, but Nacho Fernandez certainly did, the defender scoring a ‘golazo’ as he unleashed a bicycle kick from just inside the box past Palatsi.
Zidane’s troops consequently eased off against their less-decorated opponents, in turn allowing the latter to carve out several chances, starting with Jorge Ortiz, whose piledriver flashed inches wide of Casilla.
The former Espanyol goalkeeper was kept on his toes once more by Gallar, the attacker’s low shot from some way out tipped wide of the post, but Benja, a 29-year-old former Barca B player, rifled a shot first time past Casilla for his seventh goal in all competitions but surely the biggest he’d ever scored. The strike, however, meant Madrid had gone seven games since a clean sheet.
Cultural then could’ve bagged themselves a second through Gallar, who embarked on an excellent run past the Madrid defence, but his shot flew just wide of Casilla, before the No 11 came even closer, cutting in from the right and shimmying past Nacho but only able to send his shot the wrong side of the shot-stopper’s post.
It was left to substitute Mariano Diaz, who took full advantage of a free header from Morata’s right-wing cross deep in stoppage time.
Cultural Leonesa 1-7 Real Madrid
Benja 84 (CL) Gianni og 6, Asensio 32, 53, Morata 46, 55, Nacho 68, Mariano 90 (RM)
Cultural Leonesa: Palatsi; Angel, Fornies, Gianni, I Gonzalez, Y Gonzalez, Colinas (Benja 55), Ortiz, Toni (Toure 62), Martinez (Orti 19), Gallar
Real Madrid: Casilla; Carvajal (Kovacic 69), Nacho, Pepe, Danilo (Coentrao 58); Isco (Mariano 63), Kroos, James; Vazquez, Morata, Asensio
Referee: Trujillo Suarez