Copa del Rey quarter final first leg, Santiago Bernabeu - Real Madrid 4 (Vazquez 17', Ramos pen 41', 76', Benzema 80') Girona 2 (Lozano 6', Granell pen 65')
Real Madrid came from behind to take a 4-2 first leg lead in their Copa del Rey quarter-final tie against Girona.
Santiago Solari fielded a full-strength side, hinting at how seriously Real Madrid are taking the Copa del Rey this season having won the competition just twice since 1993. But they didn’t get off to the best start, conceding after just seven minutes when Choco Lozano headed home a Raul Garcia Carnero cross.
The hosts’ response was strong, though, equalising through Lucas Vazquez after good work from Alvaro Odriozola and then taking the lead through Sergio Ramos, who sent a Panenka penalty down the middle just minutes before the break.
Copa del Rey - Quarter Final - First Leg - Real Madrid v Girona - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - January 24, 2019 Real Madrid's Lucas Vazquez celebrates scoring their first goal with Sergio Ramos
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Real Madrid looked to be in control at this stage, but allowed Girona in to score a second, with Alex Granell converting a penalty kick of his own following a mindless handball from substitute Marcos Llorente.
Ramos put Real Madrid ahead once again with a header from a Marcelo cross before Karim Benzema finished from a Vinicius cross to the back post, putting Solari’s side in a strong position ahead of next week’s return leg.
TALKING POINT - Is Santiago Solari getting closer to the right formula at Real Madrid?
Sergio Ramos tucks home a penalty.
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Solari has surely pondered the possibility of playing one of either Odriozola or Dani Carvajal at left back. It’s there where Real Madrid have a problem area, but on the opposite flank they have the two best right-sided full backs in Spain.
This was another demonstration of what Odriozola offers Real Madrid, with most of their attacking play, particularly in the first half, coming through him. Benzema and Vinicius were also standout performers.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Alvaro Odriozola (Real Madrid)
Conceding after just seven minutes, it seemed that might be another one of those games for Real Madrid - one of those insipid performances that result in a dismal result. There have been a few of those this season, but in truth the two Girona goals came out of nothing and Real Madrid’s response was strong both times.
This makes it five four wins on the spin for Solari, with his side’s form improving. Is he getting closer to the right formula on the pitch?
7’ GOAL! Real Madrid 0-1 Girona: Against the run of play, Girona have taken the lead at the Santiago Bernabeu! Carnero has so much time down the left wing to get the cross into the middle, where Lozano got in between the Real Madrid centre backs and finished on the volley.
17’ GOAL! Real Madrid 1-1 Girona: Real Madrid are back on level terms! It was great play from Odriozola down the right to stretch the play and create the opportunity. He cut the ball back to Vazquez, who made no mistake in firing a first-team shot into the net.
35’ What a goal that would have been! Benzema comes close to a stunner. He spun on the ball just inside the box to send a volley towards goal. But his strike was too close to Iraizoz.
41’ PENALTY KICK TO REAL MADRID! Now it's a spot kick, with Vinicius clearly tripped by Lozano just inside the box.
42’ GOAL! Real Madrid 2-1 Girona: Another Panenka from Ramos! What audacity from the Real Madrid captain! That must be the third or fourth penalty of this type that he has pulled off. Iraizoz dived out of the way and Real Madrid have turned this around!
45’ Outside of the post! So close to being a third for Real Madrid in this first half. Benzema took aim from 20 yards out, but with Iraizoz beaten the ball clips the outside of the woodwork.
64’ PENALTY KICK TO GIRONA! The referee has pointed to the spot after a handball by Llorente from a corner kick.
65’ GOAL! Real Madrid 2-2 Girona: Girona are back on level terms! That handball from Llorente has really cost Real Madrid. It was needless and Granell made no mistake in firing a left-footed strike into the top corner of Courtois' net. Parity has been restored at the Santiago Bernabeu!
76’ GOAL! Real Madrid 3-2 Girona: It's Ramos... who else?! Vinicius dribbled into the box, played the pass back to Marcelo who sent a wonderful cross into the six yard box. Ramos was up from the back and powers home a header, giving Iraizoz no chance.
80’ GOAL! Real Madrid 4-23 Girona: Finally, Real Madrid have put some daylight between themselves and Girona! Vinicius played a fantastic first-time, low cross to the back post where Benzema was waiting for the delivery. The French striker has deserved that goal!
Sergio Ramos has now scored 15 penalty kicks over the course of his career and seven of them have been ‘Panenkas.’
Vinicius Junior has made more assists (five) than any other player in the Copa del Rey this season.