Colombian star playmaker James Rodriguez helped holders Real Madrid into the Copa del Rey last 16 on Tuesday, the Spanish giants crushing third-division UE Cornella 5-0 for a 9-1 aggregate win.
Real may have been without Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale, but Carlo Ancelotti’s youthful side barely made a false move to notch up their 17th consecutive win in all competitions.
Real almost got off to a rocky start when in the 14th minute Alvaro Arbeloa, captain for the night, gave away a penalty.
However, the Catalan club’s striker Xavi Boniquet fired over the crossbar of Real’s third-choice goalkeeper, Fernando Pacheco
One of Real’s galacticos on duty, Rodriguez, opened the scoring two minutes later with a deft lob, Isco adding the second and Rodriguez adding a third before the break.
An own-goal from Borja Lopez increased Cornella’s deficit with Real substitute Jese adding Real’s 88th-minute fifth goal.
It was the 21-year-old Spaniard’s first competitive match after eight months out with an injured knee.
“I’m very happy to be back playing,” Rodriguez said before dedicating his goal to Madrid great Alfredo di Stefano, who died in July.
“These have been many months of suffering,” he said. “You forget many little tactical things, but the team has helped me a lot.”
Madrid are to play either Atletico Madrid or L’Hospitalet next.
Real’s perfect night at the Bernabeu earned them the first ticket to the last 16 of a competition they are seeking to win for the 20th time.
Real midfielder Sami Khedira spent the night under observation in hospital after suffering a concussion in the game.
Khedira collided with Cornella midfielder David Garcia shortly after halftime at the Bernabeu and after playing on for a few minutes the Germany international had to come off and was replaced by Jese.
“Following scans carried out on Sami Khedira by the Real Madrid medical services ... a concussion has been diagnosed,” the European champions said on their Web site. “He will remain under observation for the whole night.”
In first-leg matches, top-flight side RC Celta de Vigo lost 2-1 against second-division UD Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, while Athletic Bilbao needed Borja Viguera to score in stoppage-time to salvage a 1-1 draw at third-tier CD Alcoyano.
RCD Espanyol took control of their tie against Deportivo Alaves SAD with a 2-0 away win thanks to Christian Stuani’s double, while Elche drew 0-0 at Real Valladolid.
Las Palmas opened through Hernan Santana in the 24th, and Marcelo Silva scored in the 79th after teammate Juan Culio sent a penalty-kick off the crossbar. Santi Mina pulled one back for Celta in the 82nd with a spot-kick.
Bilbao was fortunate not to have lost their match as well.
Alcoyano striker Francis Ferron opened the scoring in the 32nd and hit the post before Bilbao goalkeeper Iago Herrerin saved Jorge Perano’s close effort in the 83rd.
Espanyol defender Hector Moreno played his first match since breaking his left shin while playing for Mexico in the World Cup in June.
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