Sat, Jan 26, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Ramos nets twice in Real Madrid Copa win


Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, left, scores against Girona in their Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

With some help from defender Sergio Ramos in attack, Real Madrid overcame an early scare against Girona to move into position to reach the Copa del Rey semi-finals for the first time in five years.

Ramos on Thursday twice gave Madrid the lead in a 4-2 win against a gritty Girona team that had opened the scoring less than 10 minutes into the match at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of their quarter-final.

“I’m going through a great phase,” said the Madrid captain, who has 13 goals this season with club and nation. “It doesn’t matter who scores the goals, what is important is that we win the matches.”

Anthony Lozano opened the scoring for Girona in the seventh minute, before Lucas Vazquez equalized in the 18th. Ramos then gave Madrid the lead from the penalty spot, before an Alex Granell spot-kick leveled the tie.

Another Ramos strike and a late goal by Karim Benzema gave the hosts a two-goal advantage ahead of the second leg next week at Girona, who are trying to pull off another Copa upset after eliminating Atletico Madrid in the round-of-16.

“It was a good first step, but it’s not over yet,” Ramos said. “We saw what Girona did against Atletico, scoring three times against them as visitors. It’s not going to be easy.”

Winless in nine straight matches in all competitions, Girona got past Atletico with a 1-1 draw at home and a 3-3 draw in the second leg in Madrid.

“With the two away goals we scored tonight we have realistic chances of reversing this result at home,” Girona captain Granell said.

Madrid were eliminated in the Copa quarter-finals the past two seasons. They last made it to the semi-finals in 2014, when they won the title.

Earlier, Real Betis Balompie scored late to draw 1-1 with RCD Espanyol in Barcelona.

Borja Iglesias put the hosts ahead from close range in the 27th minute, before Paraguayan forward Antonio Sanabria evened the match following a quick counterattack in the 81st.

“It was pity to concede that goal in the end,” Espanyol coach Joan Ferrer said. “The most difficult part of the game was already behind us.”

“It was a good result for us, but we could have done even more,” Betis coach Quique Setien said.

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