Jan 21, 2014 at 8pm UK at ​Estadi Cornellà-El Prat
Real Madrid

Sanchez (83'), Casanova Abraham (91')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Benzema (25')
Ramos (72')

Live Commentary: Espanyol 0-1 Real Madrid - as it happened

Sports Mole brings you live coverage from the Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg as Real Madrid beat Espanyol 1-0 in Barcelona.

Real Madrid visited Espanyol at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat for the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final tie on Tuesday night.

Espanyol advanced into the last eight with a narrow 4-3 aggregate win over Alcorcon of the second division, while Madrid eased past Osasuna 4-0 over two matches.

Ahead of the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu next week, Madrid came away with a slender win in an entertaining contest.

Read how the match unfolded in our live commentary below.

7.32pmHola and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the Copa del Rey, where we have Espanyol taking on the mighty Real Madrid.

7.33pmTonight's match represents the first leg of their quarter-final tie in the competition, with the return meeting to follow in the Spanish capital next week. But for now, our attention is in Barcelona, where it's the neighbouring rivals of the La Liga champions who host the title-chasing Real.

7.35pm83 teams entered the Copa del Rey this year which started in September, and we've now narrowed it down to just eight clubs; seven of which are from La Liga, including both of tonight's teams. The tournament consists of two legs through each round of the competition, right up until the final in April where a one-off tie will decide who lifts the trophy.

7.37pmDue to their top-flight status, both these sides entered the competition at the round of 32. Espanyol have seen off Real Jaen and Alcorcon to reach this stage, while Madrid have got the better of Malaga and Osasuna to get here. They now meet each other in what should prove to be a fascinating contest.

7.38pmBefore we delve into any more build-up, let's bring you the team news. We start with the hosts.

7.39pmESPANYOL XI: Casilla, Raul Rodriguez, Sidnei, Moreno, Capdevila, Victor, Abraham, Lanzarote, Pizzi, Torje, Sergio Garcia

7.46pmEspanyol manager Javier Aguirre has made as many as seven changes to the team who beat Celta Vigo in La Liga on Saturday.

7.48pmOnly the goalkeeper Koke Casilla, Hector Moreno, Abraham, Sergio Garcia keep their places in the team.

7.48pmHere is the bench.

7.50pmESPANYOL BENCH: German; Victor Alvarez, Javi Lopez, Colotto, Alex, Stuani, Cordoba

7.50pmSo that's your home team, now let's take a look at the visitors.

7.51pmMADRID XI: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Modric, Illarramendi, Di Maria, Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema

7.52pmCarlo Ancelotti makes three changes to the Madrid team that hit five past Real Betis at the weekend.

7.54pmThe big news is that Iker Casillas starts in goal, with Diego Lopez dropping to the bench. Alvaro Arbeloa and Asier Illarramendi also come in, with Daniel Carvajal and Xabi Alonso being replaced.

7.54pmAnd here is what Ancelotti has in reserve.

7.54pmMADRID BENCH: Diego Lopez, Nacho Fernandez, Carvajal, Xabi Alonso, Isco, Jese, Morata

7.55pmSo those are your teams. Just a reminder that the winner of this tie will play either Atletico or Athletic Bilbao in the last four.

7.57pmThese two sides met just nine days ago at this stadium in La Liga, when Pepe headed the only goal of the game to give Real Madrid the 1-0 win.

7.58pmMadrid will be buoyant heading into this game, after La Liga leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid suffered draws at the weekend, reducing the gap between themselves and Carlo Ancelotti's side to just one point, heating up the title race.

7.59pmReal have won all six of their games played in 2014 so far and are the only La Liga side to do so.

8pmMeanwhile, Espanyol are eighth in the league table, way below the race for the European spots but well clear of the relegation battle. The club has just stemmed a run of three consecutive defeats at the start of the year with back-to-back wins over Alcorcon and Celta Vigo last week.

8.01pmThe hosts are starting to find some momentum and will be delighted to welcome manager Javier Aguirre back to the touchline after the Mexican completed a four-match ban for insulting the referees in the game against Osasuna earlier this year.

8.02pmThe two sides have taken to the field at Cornella-El Prat, and we're just moments away from kick off.

1 minKICK OFF! Espanyol, playing from left to right, get the match underway.

2 minEspanyol are in their home kit of blue-and-white-striped shirts with blue shorts and hooped socks, while Madrid are in their all-orange second strip.

2 minBenzema is nearly played through on goal early, but the flag is up for offside.

2 minEspanyol win a corner, which the away side aren't happy about. However, the delivery ends up going behind, and Casillas will take the goal kick.

3 minCLOSE! Madrid nearly go in front through the world's best player. Ronaldo comes into the box from the right at walking pace and, after a couple of stepovers, slides a low shot wide of the far post. He maybe should have looked up and seen Di Maria is acres of space across the area.

5 minIt's been a decent start by Madrid, who have pretty much had the ball ever since kick off. No more chances since that Ronaldo effort though.

8 minEspanyol have done well and managed to weather the storm brewed up by Madrid. They have been able to get their foot on the ball and pass it about a bit, but they've not managed to create a chance yet.

12 minThe game is a bit quiet at the moment. Not a lot is going on, especially in terms of shots on goal. Madrid have been caught offside by a high Espanyol backline, who are getting out very quickly. They have to be careful playing that against the pacey attacking quartet of Ronaldo, Benzema, Di Maria and Bale. It's worked so far though.

14 minIf you needed reminding, Real Madrid finished as the runners-up in this competition last season; losing to city rivals Atletico after extra time in the final.

18 minMISS! Best bit of play so far, and it should be 1-0. Lanzarote pulls off some wonderful skill before threading Sergio Garcia into the right side of the box. he gets beyond Ramos to the byline before pulling the ball back into the center. It finds its way to Pizzi towards the penalty spot, but he leans back and side-foots his shot over. That simply had to hit the target, and that's poor.

19 minConsider that a warning Real Madrid. Espanyol are starting to settle. The away side haven't offered much yet.

21 minOFF THE POST! And just like that, Madrid could have gone in front. Ronaldo is the man causing trouble once more, and he creates some room for himself in the box before firing a shot towards the bottom left corner. It bobbles past Casilla, but comes back off the post and falls to an Espanyol defender.

23 minMaybe those two incidents will start to liven the game up. It had been fairly stale up until then, but the crowd are now starting to come alive.

24 minEspanyol have a lot of men back whenever Madrid find themselves in possession. It's going to be hard for the away side to break them down, but we have seen that they can do it with ease at times after that Ronaldo chance.

25 minGOAL! Espanyol 0-1 Real Madrid (Karim Benzema)

What was I saying? Benzema has just put Real 1-0 to the good with his 14th goal of the season. Arbeloa floats in a wonderful cross from the right, which is brilliantly flicked on by Bale at the front post. That nod takes the ball away from the defender, leaving Benzema free to dive forward and head the ball into the bottom corner.

27 minRonaldo cracks a wry smile as he tries to pull off an outrageous bicycle kick from the cross of Di Maria. He could have perhaps headed that, but who am I to advise the Ballon d'Or winner!

30 minSergio Ramos gets a taste of his own medicine, as he collapses in a heap on the floor after getting body checked by Torje as they competed for the ball. The foul is awarded to the Madrid man, and that's the sort of thing that the defender is usually doing to the strikers.

31 minIllarramendi gets away with a ludicrous pass back to Casillas that is hit with way too much power, and goes out for a corner. He's lucky that he didn't cause more trouble for his own side there.

34 minCHANCE! Good feet from Benzema inside the Espanyol box on the left, as he controls the ball with his right foot before smashing a shot towards the far corner with the other. However, his low effort pings just wide and across the face of goal.

35 minCLOSE! Madrid are on top and in search of a second before half time, and it's Ronaldo who is again trying his luck at goal. He is given a bit of room in a central position from 30 yards out, and decides to hit a low shot towards the corner, but it sails just wide of the far post.

36 minApart from the assist, we haven't seen too much of Bale tonight. He's been out on the right flank so far.

38 minRonaldo wages his finger at the referee as he is denied the chance to run clear through on goal as he is flagged offside. Replays show that the Portuguese captain is right, due to being inside his own half. Bad call from the officials, and a huge let off for Espanyol.

40 minDisappointing play from Bale who, after wonderful work in the corner by Di Maria, skips down the right and has Ronaldo in the box to pick out. His first touch is good, but the Welshman's second touch lets him down, and he puts the cross wide of the near post for a goal kick.

41 minRonaldo is showing one or two signs of frustration at the moment. Following that Bale error, he opts to have a go at goal from outside the box. His shots is comfortably wide, but Di Maria had made a brilliant run that deserved the pass. Ronaldo's facial expression says it all.

42 minNeedless to say, it's been all Madrid since the goal and they should be further ahead.

43 minFree kick in a brilliant position for Madrid here, 30 yards out to the right of centre. Ronaldo and Bale are both over this.

44 minSAVE! Wonderful stop from Castilla that keeps Espanyol in the match. Bale steps up and uses his superb technique to move the ball all over the place. It goes left, then right and dips from Bale, but Castilla manages to get a hand to it and shows brilliant reflexes to put it behind.

45 minMISS! Another good chance for Madrid, but the opportunity falls to Arbeloa. He skies the ball over the bar as he arrives from the far side of the box.

46 minHALF TIME: Espanyol 0-1 Real Madrid

8.47pmSo after a bit of a dull period, this game has proved highly entertaining with a very good tempo to it.

8.48pmIt's Benzema whose goal separates the two teams at the break. Ronaldo has hit the post, and Castilla has pulled off a couple of good saves. It's been a half dominated by Madrid, but it remains just 1-0; giving Espanyol a chance.

9.01pmThe teams are making their way back onto the field, and Espanyol look to have made a substitution.

9.02pmESPANYOL CHANGE: Alex Fernandez, a passing midfielder, has come on for Lanzarote.

46 minKICK OFF! Madrid, playing to the right, get the second half underway.

47 minCHANCE! Nearly an instant goal for Madrid. Ronaldo crosses from the right, and finds Bale running in at the near post. But the delivery seems to come off the thigh of Bale and fly over.

48 minAlex, having just come on, has a shot from range which goes well wide of the left post.

52 minEspanyol has responded with a little attacking spell of their own, but they haven't manage to get a shot away at Casillas yet.

54 minCLOSE! Sergio Garcia is so unlucky not to score a wonderful equaliser here. He brings the ball down on the right corner of the Madrid box before running inside, away from Marcelo, and shoots just wide of the post. His effort was curling all the time, but didn't quite swerve enough.

55 minEspanyol are really on top right now.

57 minMISS! Of all the people that you would expect to squander this chance, Ronaldo isn't one of them. Di Maria whips in a great cross from the left, which lands right on the head of Ronaldo just outside the six-yard box. It should be a simple goal, but he heads the ball into the ground and then watches it bounce over the bar. He knows that he's messed up there.

61 minSAVE! Casilla to the rescue again, as he races off his line to thwart Di Maria, who was played in on the left of the box by a lovely scooped pass from Marcelo.

63 minIt's becoming Castilla vs. Real Madrid the way things are at the moment as the away side begin to move up the gears.

64 minSAVE! You've guessed it, Castilla runs out of his goal to snuff out another Madrid chance. Di Maria prods in Arbeloa, who should do better.

67 minSAVE! Benzema is played through by Ronaldo, and runs into the box before shooting at goal. However, his hit is straight at Castilla, who makes the save, but Ronaldo was completely open to his right and should have been passed to.

68 minCastilla deserves a huge amount of credit for keeping the score at just 1-0. This tie could have been done and dusted by now if it were not for him, never mind the first leg.

71 minAlonso is getting ready to come on.

73 minMADRID CHANGE: Alonso makes his way onto the field then, with Di Maria being replaced.

75 minESPANYOL CHANGE: Jhon Cordoba, who is on loan at the club, replaces Torje.

76 minMadrid break forward again, with the Bale the man being played in on the edge of the box. His touch to control is good, but he then blazes the ball high over the bar. If they don't win tonight, Madrid really do only have themselves to blame, regardless of Castilla saves.

77 minMADRID CHANGE: Isco enters the fray, with Benzema being sacrificed.

81 minBit of a slow period at the moment, which shocks me a bit because the next goal is really decisive.

83 minYELLOW CARD: Victor Sanchez takes one for the team as he brings down Gareth Bale, who was breaking away towards goal.

84 minSAVE! That was the chance for Espanyol, but it's a massive save by Casillas. Cordoba runs beyond the Madrid backline and makes his way into the box. Casillas comes off his line and is able to block the shot with his knee. He's barely had anything to do this evening, so that shows top class concentration on the part of the goalkeeper.

87 minCrucial challenge from Moreno, who tackles Bale from behind but wins the ball to deny him the chance. That would have surely been 2-0 as well.

89 minCLOSE! Espanyol are really having a go now, and Madrid are hanging on. Marcelo is forced to block a shot from Alex off the line amid a goalmouth scramble. Nervy times for the visitors.

90 minYELLOW CARD: Bale gets away from Abraham, who is forced to cynically bring down the Welshman to prevent him having a free run at goal.

90+1 minMADRID CHANGE: Jese replaces Bale. Three minutes of stoppage time to play.

90+3 minFULL TIME: Espanyol 0-1 Real Madrid

9.50pmThere's the final whistle, but we're only halfway through this quarter-final. Madrid take just a one-goal advantage into the second leg thanks to a Karim Benzema goal in the first half.

9.50pmThat's all from me. Goodnight.

Espanyol head coach Javier Aguirre reacts on the touchline during the match against Valencia on August 24, 2013
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