Print Edition - 2017-01-06 | Sports
Rodriguez caps perfect year for Real
- copa del rey
Jan 6, 2017-
Zinedine Zidane celebrated a spectacular first year in charge of Real Madrid as James Rodriguez scored twice to set the European champions firmly on course for the Copa del Rey quarter-finals with a 3-0 last 16, first leg win over Sevilla.
Not even the absence of the rested Cristiano Ronaldo could halt Real’s now 38-game unbeaten run as Rodriguez took full advantage of a rare start by blasting home the opener from outside the box after just 10 minutes.
Raphael Varane headed home a second and Rodriguez added Real’s third from the penalty spot before half-time. “The first 45 minutes were physically and technically almost perfect,” said Zidane.
The margin of Real’s win will be of particular comfort to Zidane with next week’s second leg (Jan 12) now appearing a formality amidst a hectic schedule that could see Real play 21 times in 11 weeks.
Real started a second consecutive home game without any of their first-choice front three as Karim Benzema was left on the bench, Ronaldo rested altogether and Gareth Bale still sidelined by a long-term ankle injury.
Earlier, Real Sociedad also took a huge step towards the last eight as Willian Jose, Carlos Vela and Mikel Oyarzabal were on target in a 3-1 win over Villarreal. Second division Alcorcon and Cordoba drew 0-0 in the night’s other tie.
Published: 06-01-2017 08:54