Real Madrid 5-0 Cornella (Madrid win 9-1 on aggregate)
(James 2, Isco, Chicharito, Jese)
Santiago Bernabeu, Copa del Rey
Real Madrid eased through to the next round of the Copa del Rey with a comfortable 9-1 aggregate victory over third-tier Cornella on Tuesday night but the real story was Jese’s long-awaited return from the injury and a goal to mark it.
The talented young forward, who had been sidelined since March with a cruciate ligament injury in his right knee, was a second half substitute and his strike produced the biggest cheer of the night from the Bernabeu crowd.
The damage had already been done in the first leg, a 4-1 victory, but Madrid ensured the job was done in the first half as a brace from man-of-the-match James Rodriguez and another for Isco, assisted by the Colombian, saw Carlo Ancelotti’s side 3-0 up at the break.
Chicharito added a fourth on the resumption before Jese’s neat strike wrapped-up the five-star showing in some fashion.
Ancelotti sent out a young side to face their Catalan opposition with Fernando Pacheco preferred to Keylor Navas in goal, while midfielder Alvaro Medran was handed his debut and both Diego Llorente and Javier Munoz made their bows in the second half.
The visitors made an energetic start but Madrid threatened first when Isco’s pin-point pass sent Coentrao away down the left only for his low cross to be deflected behind for a corner with Chicharito preparing to pounce.
Medran, operating on the left-hand side of a three-man midfield including Illarramendi and Khedira, eased his way into the game and almost provided the opener when his cross fizzed across the face of goal but evaded an outstretched Chicharito.
Cornella withstood the early home pressure and almost caused a shock in the 14th minute when Xavi Boniquet’s trickery down the left forced Alvaro Arbeloa to foul him and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. The Catalan man dusted himself down to take the penalty himself but could not even force a save from Pacheco. The miss will not leave him anytime soon.
The visitors were made to pay for that miss just minutes when Madrid opened the scoring. Isco slotted James in and the Colombian’s neat dink ensured his eighth goal of the season. The goal also meant the former Monaco man became the only Madrid player to score in all four competitions this season.
Ancelotti’s men could have made it 2-0 just after the half-hour mark but Coentrao could not find the crucial final pass for Chicharito but they did double their lead just seconds later. This time James returned the favour to Isco, who was left one-on-one with Cornella captain Inigo and he chipped the ball over him.
The confidence was oozing in the Madrid side and it was 3-0 a minute later. James was involved again, this time being left in plenty of space to curl a neat finish in from the edge of the box.
The World Cup Golden Boot winner was the star of the show and just five minutes before the break his curling cross found the head of Sami Khedira but the German could only flick his header wide of the far post.
Ancelotti introduced young defender Diego Llorente for Raphael Varane at the start of the season half and Jese made his return when he came on ten minutes after the restart. The only blot on Los Blancos’ copybook was that Jese had to replace an injured Khedira.
That did little to stem the flow of the game, however, and Madrid extended their lead shortly after when Chicharito finally got on the scoresheet. The Mexican spotted Arbeloa out on the right and the defender produced a clever return pass which resulted in the Manchester United loan man finding the back of the net via the crossbar and a Cornella defender.
Madrid’s youthful team got even younger with the introduction of Javier Munoz for James, who did not get to complete his hat-trick. Los Blancos’ biggest stars may have been rested but the Madridistas who attended the game will have been delighted to see such a promising future in front of them on the pitch.
Jese’s return was the highlight and he ensured he enjoyed the perfect return with Madrid’s fifth of the night after 77 minutes. Isco drove into the box and bided him time before he found Madrid’s young star out on the right and he struck he composed low finish inside the far post to spark the biggest celebrations of the night.
Isco had a penalty appeal waved away late on but, Khedira’s injury aside, it was a good night at the office for Ancelotti’s young side and they are likely to face a much tougher test with neighbours Atletico Madrid their likely opponents in the next round.
Madrid: Pacheco, Arbeloa, Coentrao, Nacho, Varane, Illarramendi, Khedira, Medran, Isco, James, Chicharito. Subs: Navas, Carvajal, Jese, Llorente, Javier Munoz.
Cornella: Inigo, Pere, Borja, Pelegri, Israel, David, Luis, Gomez, Oscar Munoz, Gallar, Boniquet. Subs: Segovia, Dani Marti, Joaquin, Pep Caballe, Trujillo.