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REAL MADRID

Ronaldo’s Real cruise into Cup quarters

Real Madrid secured their place in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey with a 2-0 win away to Osasuna on Wednesday to progress 4-0 on aggregate.

Ronaldo's Real cruise into Cup quarters
Photo: Ander Guillenea/AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated winning his second Ballon d'Or earlier in the week with the opening goal, but he had Andres Fernandez to thank as the Osasuna keeper parried the Portuguese's long-range free-kick through his own legs and into the net.

Angel di Maria then wrapped up victory on the night with a neat finish from Jese Rodriguez's cross to set up a meeting with Espanyol in the last eight.

Real boss Carlo Ancelotti had made six changes to the side that beat Espanyol in La Liga at the weekend as Gareth Bale dropped to the bench.

And the Italian was happy with the professional job done by his players.

"We controlled the game very well and the team showed good concentration," he said.

"We managed to score early which helped and after that it wasn't such a difficult game because we defended very well.

"There are a lot of games coming up and it is difficult to always play well, but the team is working hard at the moment and we are hungry to achieve things in the future."

There were to be no scares as Ronaldo killed the tie as a contest when his dipping free-kick proved too hot for Andres to handle on 21 minutes.

Alvaro Cejudo was then unlucky not to take Osasuna in level at the break as he struck the post with a low left-footed drive before seeing Iker Casillas turn behind a similar effort moments later.

Madrid were in complete control after half-time, though, and Di Maria doubled their advantage with a side-footed finish after a determined run down the right by Jese.

Bale was introduced for Ronaldo with half an hour remaining, but once again the Welshman failed to impress as the visitors settled for what they had in the latter stages.

And Madrid even finished the game with 10 men when Manchester United target Fabio Coentrao needlessly picked up a second yellow card six minutes from time.

Espanyol needed two goals in the last 10 minutes to overcome second division side Alcorcon 4-2 on the night to go through 4-3 on aggregate.

Athletic Bilbao also set up a meeting with holders Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals with a 2-1 aggregate win over Real Betis.

Meanwhile, Barcelona's opponents in the next round should they see off Getafe on Thursday will be Levante after they overcame Rayo Vallecano 1-0.

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FOOTBALL

Black Lives Matter: Marcelo ‘takes the knee’ to celebrate Real Madrid win

Marcelo celebrated by taking a knee as Real Madrid returned from three months away following the coronavirus suspension by beating Eibar 3-1 on Sunday.

Black Lives Matter: Marcelo 'takes the knee' to celebrate Real Madrid win
Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo kneels on the field to celebrate his goal. Photo: AFP

After scoring Madrid's third goal in the 37th minute, Marcelo dropped onto his left knee and raised his clinched right fist into the air, apparently in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Madrid's win may have come at a cost as Eden Hazard and Sergio Ramos were both substituted early in the second half and were seen with ice packs strapped to them while sitting in the stands.

Hazard was making his first start since February and his ice pack appeared to be around his troublesome right ankle, which he injured in November and February, before undergoing surgery in March.

“We knew Eden would lack a bit of rhythm playing the whole game,” coach Zinedine Zidane said.

“He played well for an hour, he took a knock which was a scare but at half-time he said he was fine. He is happy with what he has done and we are happy with him.”

Madrid's win means they reduce the gap behind league leaders Barcelona back to two points after the Catalans thrashed Real Mallorca 4-0 on Saturday.    

Madrid struck in the fourth minute after a superb strike from Toni Kroos before Ramos tucked away Hazard's pass on the counter-attack.    

Eibar pulled one back in the second half through Pedro Bigas but never found the second to make Madrid nervous, despite a brief spell of pressure.    

Before going off, Hazard was busy, the Belgian involved in all three goals.    

His weaving run through midfield led to Kroos' shot and it was his effort that was cleared out to Marcelo, who drove into the corner.    

After a miserable opening season in Spain, it was a bright start for Hazard, who could now redeem himself by playing a crucial role in the run-in, if he can stay injury-free.

Perhaps even more impressive though was Karim Benzema, who linked up brilliantly with Hazard and was unfortunate not to get the goal an excellent all-round performance deserved.

Gareth Bale started on the bench but came on and could start against Valencia on Thursday.

Zidane is likely to rotate heavily over the next few weeks, with the games coming thick and fast.

New surroundings

Madrid's coach will also have been pleased to get off to a positive start in their new training ground home, which was the 100th different stadium to be used in La Liga.

They will be playing all their remaining home matches at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium to allow renovation work at the Santiago Bernabeu to continue this summer.

“We know the situation, it's all a bit strange,” said Zidane. “But the players are all champions and we have to get our heads around it.”    

Barca had needed less than two minutes to score against Mallorca and Madrid were only slightly later, as Hazard broke through Eibar's midfield and Casemiro set Benzema free.

The ball was cleared to Kroos on the edge of the area, who struck first time, sidefooting perfectly into the far top right-hand corner.   

Ramos doubled their advantage after starting, and finishing, a ruthless counter-attack. In between, Benzema and Hazard were involved again, the former picking out the latter, who generously gave Ramos an open goal.

Marcelo put Eibar all but out of sight before half-time as Benzema played through for Hazard and his shot spilled out to Marcelo to lash into the corner.

Eibar were better after the break as Edu Exposito forced a full-stretch save from Thibaut Courtois and then Sergi Enrich headed against the crossbar. 

Bigas did score after diverting in Pedro Leon's shot but Madrid held on.    

Earlier, Diego Costa scored his first goal since October but Atletico Madrid missed the chance to move into La Liga's top four by drawing 1-1 away at Athletic Bilbao.

Costa celebrated by holding up the shirt of Virgina Torrecilla, a player from Atletico's women's team, who underwent surgery on a brain tumour last month.

His equaliser came two minutes after the excellent Iker Muniain had given Bilbao the lead towards the end of the first half and neither side could find a winner at the empty San Mames, with Atletico defender Santiago Arias missing the best chance late on.

Diego Simeone's side stay sixth, level on points with Getafe and one behind Real Sociedad, who were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Osasuna.

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