Eden Hazard came off the bench to score a 116th-minute winner as 10-man Real Madrid came from behind in extra-time to beat Elche and claim their place in the quarter-final of the Copa del Rey.
A frantic couple of minutes in extra-time saw Marcelo sent off for denying Tete Morente a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Real Madrid's pain was compounded as Gonzalo Verdu scored from the resulting free-kick, his shot taking a wicked deflection off Dani Ceballos to wrong-foot stand-in goalkeeper Andriy Lunin.
Their lead didn't last long, however, as Isco flicked in Ceballos' shot in the 108th-minute, and Hazard won the game eight minutes later, the Belgium international running onto David Alaba's through-ball before rounding the goalkeeper and shooting into an empty net.
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Carlo Ancelotti made six changes from the Copa de Espana victory over Athletic Club on Sunday, with the likes of Karim Benzema, Casemiro, Luka Modric and Hazard - of course - named amongst the substitutes.
The much-changed side struggled to deal with Elche's pace on the break in the first half and the hosts must have been wondering how they weren't ahead at the interval after creating several chances.
Guido Carrillo somehow hit the woodwork from three yards out and the goal gaping. Desperate to make amends, the Elche forward met a cross with a determined downward header, but this time was denied by the fully stretched Lunin.
Los Blancos showed signs of improvement as half-time approached, and Luka Jovic - handed a rare opportunity to impress - side-footed a first-time effort past the post just moments after the restart.
Casemiro and Modric were introduced off the bench to add some experience and guile, but chances weren't easy to come by, with Vinicius Jr spurning Real's best moment of the second half.
The game exploded into life in extra-time, however, and after all the drama of three goals and a red card, the referee also showed his marching orders to Elche midfielder Pere Milla for his protestations in the dying stages - moments after Fidel Chache had what he thought was a late, late equaliser chalked off for a foul.
TALKING POINT - Real Madrid made to sweat for their place in last-eight
Elche came into this content off the back of three straight victories, beating Espanyol and Villarreal in back-to-back league games, and were never expected to be pushovers. However, Los Blancos were made to work much harder than they would ever have anticipated to get over the line.
In fact, it looked like it was going pear-shaped when Verdu struck the opener in extra-time. But Real never know when they're beaten and even with 10 men you couldn't write them off. Indeed, they found a higher gear after Marcelo's dismissal and it was no surprise that Isco and Hazard - fresh off the bench - combined to turn the game on its head.
A thoroughly entertaining encounter - and we get to do it all over again when Real Madrid host Elche in LaLiga on Sunday!
MAN OF THE MATCH - Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid)
His direct running and endeavour to make something happen took its toll on the tiring Elche defence, who eventually ran out of steam.
Elche: Werner 7, Palacios 6, John 7, Gonzalez 7, Mojica 7, Josan 6, Guti 7, Gumbau 6, Fidel 7, Perez 6, Carillo 6.. subs: Verdu 7, Friaza 5, Morente 7, Badia, Bri, Andreu, Milla 6, Marco.
Real Madrid: Lunin 7, Lucas 6, Nacho 7, Alaba 7, Marcelo 6, Camavinga 6, Valverde 6, Kroos 6, Rodrygo 6, Vinicius 8* and Jovic 6.. subs: Casemiro 6, Mendy N/A, Hazard 7, Ceballos 7, Isco 7, Modric 6,
11' - HOW DID THAT NO GO IN?! This is an unbelievable miss by Elche! Marcelo slips and allows Josan to race in behind down the right and drag it back. Carrillo, from just a matter of yards out and with the goal gaping, crashes a shot off the bar. One of the worst misses you will ever see!
104' - GOAL! ELCHE 1-0 REAL MADRID (GONZALO VERDU): Elche score from the resulting free-kick! Verdu's initial effort is struck straight into the wall - but he gets a second bite of the cherry. His shot on the rebound isn't great either, but it takes a wicked deflection off Ceballos, wrong-foots Lunin and ends up in the back of the net!
108' - GOAL! ELCHE 1-1 REAL MADRID (ISCO): We're all level once more! Real Madrid have wasted no time in drawing level! Isco is in the right place and, cool as you like, flicks Ceballos' shot past the helpless goalkeeper!
116' - GOAL! ELCHE 1-2 REAL MADRID (EDEN HAZARD): Hazard gives Real Madrid the lead for the first time in the game! The Belgium international races onto Alaba's clever ball down the left. He take a touch to round the onrushing goalkeeper, keeps a cool and slots it into the empty net. Game turned on its head!
119' - GOAL DISALLOWED! WHAT LATE DRAMA! Fidel has the ball in the back of the net for the hosts - but it's not going to count as the referee spotted a foul in the build-up. The referee adjudged that Milla fouled Nacho and that gave Fidel the space to score! Tempers are boiling over - Elche are fuming!
120' - RED CARD! Milla is shown his marching orders now for a second bookable offence, protesting to the referee's decision to award a free-kick against him. It's all happening here! Both sides down to 10 men!
Eden Hazard has been involved in two goals in his last two games for Real Madrid (one goal and one assist), as many as in his previous 17 games in all competitions (two assists).
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