Result: Karim Benzema strike wins it for Real Madrid

Karim Benzema's strike gives Real Madrid a 1-0 win against Espanyol in the Copa del Rey.

Real Madrid squeezed past Espanyol 1-0 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie at Estadi Cornella-El Prat.

Karim Benzema scored his 14th goal of the season after 25 minutes when he reacted quickest from Gareth Bale's flick-on to nod home.

Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the opener during the Spanish Copa del Rey quarter-final first-leg football match against Espanyol on January 21, 2014© Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo went close with a 30-yard strike before Sergio Garcia nearly grabbed an equaliser after the restart.

Madrid hammered at the Espanyol door in the second period, but they found Kiko Casilla in inspired form.

The keeper denied Ronaldo, Alvaro Arbeloa and Angel di Maria before Iker Casillas made an important save down the other end towards the end of the game from Jhon Cordoba.

Real Madrid's Argentinian midfielder Angel di Maria during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid vs Malaga on October 19, 2013
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Real Sociedad11003213
2Leganes11001013
3Valencia11001013
4Atletico MadridAtletico10102201
5GironaGirona10102201
6Espanyol10101101
7Sevilla10101101
8Athletic Bilbao10100001
9Getafe10100001
10Barcelona00000000
11Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo00000000
12EibarEibar00000000
13Levante00000000
14Malaga00000000
15Real Betis00000000
16Real Madrid00000000
17Villarreal00000000
18Celta Vigo100123-10
19AlavesAlaves100101-10
20Las PalmasLas Palmas100101-10
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