Good evening and welcome to Sports Mole
's live commentary of the second leg of the Copa del Rey
quarter-final between Girona
and Real Madrid. Real Madrid are the strong favourites to progress to the semi-finals as they hold a 4-2 advantage from the first leg last week. Los Blancos have won their last three matches in all competitions, while Girona have lost their last three, including a 2-0 defeat to Barcelona in La Liga at the weekend. Stay tuned for live minute-by-minute updates!
GIRONA: Iraizoz; Porro, Ramalho, Espinosa, Muniesa, R Garcia; Granell, Paik, Luiz; Stuani, Lozano
REAL MADRID: Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Kroos, Llorente, Ceballos; Lucas, Benzema, Vinicius
Girona boss Eusebio Sacristan has rung the changes from the team that started against Barcelona in La Liga at the weekend, with Douglas Luiz, Anthony Lozano, Paik Seung-ho and Marc Muniesa among those to come into the XI tonight. The team's leading scorer Cristhian Stuani, however, keeps his spot in attack. It looks to be a 5-3-2 formation for the hosts tonight.
As for Real Madrid, their team shows four changes to the one that started the 4-2 win over Espanyol in La Liga at the weekend. Marcelo, Marcos Llorente, Keylor Navas and Dani Ceballos all come in, but it is the same front three, meaning that Gareth Bale is again on the bench.
Right, we are just about ready. Real Madrid lead 4-2 from the first leg of this quarter-final. Can Girona turn it around on home soil to progress? Stay tuned to find out. Kickoff is next!
KICKOFF: Girona kick things off on home soil...
... it has been a bright start from Girona, with Lozano already delivering a dangerous cross into the Real Madrid box. Porro then goes down in a wide area under a challenge from Marcelo and wins a free kick for his team. Girona have the chance to deliver into the away side's box here.
OFF THE BAR! Granell's dipping free kick actually hits the crossbar! Real Madrid manage to survive though with Carvajal making an important block after Garcia had reacted to shoot.
It has been a strong start from the home side, with Real Madrid being forced to defend for pretty much all of the first five minutes. The onus is on Girona to force the issue tonight.
Nothing from Real Madrid offensively in the first seven minutes of this match. Girona are playing some excellent stuff as they continue to move the ball in the final third of the field.
Just a reminder that Barcelona, Valencia and Real Betis have already booked their spot in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey. Real Madrid will be looking to join those three tonight.
SHOT! Benzema's shot from inside the Girona post is just wide of the target.
Just a few signs that Real Madrid are settling here as they get on the ball in dangerous positions. Carvajal and Marcelo are pushing high up the field when the visitors have the ball.
Away goals do indeed count in the Copa del Rey and the fact that Girona have two of them means that this tie is far from finished. That said, it is very difficult to see Real Madrid not scoring at least once. Still goalless on the night with 13 minutes on the clock in Catalonia.
End-to-end football in the last minute or two as Girona break clear through Lozano, but Varane is across to make an excellent tackle before Vinicius drives at his full-back.
CHANCE! Big chance for the away side as Carvajal's dangerous low cross falls for Benzema, but Girona somehow manage to scramble it clear through Iraizoz and Porro.
Iraizoz has been asked to gather a couple of deep crosses in the last few moments and the goalkeeper has not been concerned. Girona continue to threaten on the break, meanwhile, with Lozano causing plenty of problems with his pace and movement in dangerous areas.
Not an awful lot to report in terms of chances in the last couple of minutes, but both teams are still committing players forward when they have the chance to launch a counter-attack.
Vinicius attacks Porro down the Real Madrid left once again, but Granell is across to help his teammate and the danger is cleared. The resulting corner is then headed clear by Bernardo.
SAVE! Comfortable save for Iraizoz to keep out a strike from Kroos.
Vinicius is giving Porro a torrid time in a wide position at the moment. Marcelo is linking well with his fellow Brazilian and that looks to be a growing partnership down the left.
CLOSE! Benzema just misses the post with a low strike!
GOAL! GIRONA 0-1 REAL MADRID (BENZEMA)
Real Madrid make the breakthrough in the 27th minute of this second leg as Benzema combines with Carvajal before finding the far corner of the net with a wonderful finish!
Benzema is having a very good season and his confidence in taking a dribble before firing into the bottom corner was seen just then. Girona's task has just become even harder here.
CHANCE! Lozano delivers a very dangerous low cross into Stuani, but the striker just cannot make contact! Navas just about did enough to palm it clear!
SAVE! Super save from Iraizoz to keep out an attempt from Marcelo, who had been found by Vinicius. Brilliant chance for the visitors, but Iraizoz was equal to the effort.
Things do appear to be changing for Real Madrid. It has been a tough season thus far, but it is clear that their confidence is returning, while they are recovering key players from injury.
SAVE! Smart save from Navas to keep out a powerful drive from Granell.
Little over five minutes of the first period remaining and Real Madrid lead 1-0 on the night. The European champions have a 5-2 aggregate lead, meanwhile, meaning that as it stands, Girona need three unanswered goals to take the lead in the tie. Not too much to ask then!
Varane's header just misses his own post from a dangerous Girona corner, but the referee had blown his whistle with Espinosa jumping on the back of the France international.
SAVE! Quick reactions from Navas to save from Stuani!
GOAL! GIRONA 0-2 REAL MADRID (BENZEMA)
Real Madrid double their advantage in the 43rd minute as Benzema finds the bottom corner with a wonderful curling effort. The centre-forward can do no wrong at the moment!
HALF TIME: GIRONA 0-2 REAL MADRID
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with Real Madrid leading Girona 2-0 on the night and 6-2 on aggregate. Girona have actually played quite well tonight, but a couple of excellent finishes from Benzema have put Real Madrid on the brink of the semis.
STATISTICS! Real Madrid had 60% of the ball in the first period, while they had 12 attempts, four of which were on target. Girona, meanwhile, hit the target with three of their seven attempts. No yellow cards to report, which is a surprise when considering the tempo here.
BENCH WATCH! A strong Real Madrid bench includes Isco, Asensio and Bale, while Casemiro is also in reserve for Solari tonight. Girona, meanwhile, have options in the shape of A Garcia, Pons, Portu and Alex Pachon. Something has to change for the home side and quickly!
KICKOFF: Real Madrid resume the action here...
... GIRONA SUB! Muniesa has been replaced by Juanpe for the hosts.
SAVE! Comfortable save from the Girona stopper to keep out a Ramos header.
YELLOW CARD! Stuani (Girona) is booked for a poor challenge on Ramos.
It is quite a frantic game at the moment with challenges flying in from both teams. No real chances to report in the second period though and Girona need something to happen here.
Ceballos is bundled to the ground by Porro inside the Girona box, but the referee is not interested. In fairness, there was not too much of an appeal from the Real Madrid midfielder.
CHANCE! Big chance for Real Madrid as Benzema drives into a dangerous position before finding Vinicius, but the attacker sees his low strike deflected just wide of the post!
Vinicius is coming in for some rough treatment from the Girona players at the moment. To be honest, that looks to be the only way that the home side can stop the brilliant Brazilian.
Vinicius delivers an excellent low cross towards Benzema, but Espinosa makes the clearance. Just a reminder that Garth Bale is again on the bench for Real Madrid tonight.
REAL MADRID SUB! Benzema is replaced by Asensio for Real Madrid.
GIRONA SUB! Valery replaces Stuani for the home side.
Little under 30 minutes of this second leg remaining and Real Madrid still lead 6-2 on aggregate. The home supporters are in fine voice at the moment though!
REAL MADRID SUB! Nacho replaces Ramos for the away side.
CLOSE! Fernandez's header from a Garcia cross is not too far wide of the post.
OFF THE POST! Huge chance for Real Madrid to score a third as Lucas reacts to a loose save from Iraizoz, but the Spaniard's effort clips the outside of the post!
YELLOW CARD! Carvajal (Real Madrid) is booked for a foul on Granell.
REAL MADRID SUB! Bale replaces Vinicius for the away team.
GIRONA SUB! Paik is replaced by Pachon for the home side.
GOAL! GIRONA 1-2 REAL MADRID (PORRO)
Now then! Girona register in the 71st minute as Porro collects a clever pass from the substitute Pachon before finding the bottom corner with a very composed finish!
YELLOW CARD! Lozano (Girona) is booked for a poor challenge on Varane.
No spot on the pitch for Isco tonight and he does not seem too pleased about it on the bench. It remains to be seen whether the Spaniard is still with Real Madrid heading into next season.
GOAL! GIRONA 1-3 REAL MADRID (LLORENTE)
Real Madrid have their third of the match in the 76th minute as Llorente drives to the edge of the box before finding the bottom corner with a powerful strike!
CLOSE! Espinosa misses the Real Madrid goal with a strike from inside the box.
CLOSE! Real Madrid want more goals here and Lucas has just sent a curling effort wide of the far post. Bale and Asensio have both been full of beans since entering the field tonight.
Some concern over Varane here as the Frenchman picks up a head injury.
Varane is now back on his feet following a brief period of treatment.
The Girona supporters are starting to make their way towards the exits. It has been a good effort from the home side tonight, but their Copa del Rey journey for this season will end.
CHANCE! Raul Garcia hits the side-netting after meeting a low cross from Lozano inside the Real Madrid box. Girona deserve more than their one goal tonight, that is for sure.
We are into the first of three added minutes in Catalonia.
Possession football from Real Madrid as we approach the full-time whistle.
FULL TIME: GIRONA 1-3 REAL MADRID (REAL MADRID WIN 7-3 ON AGGREGATE)
So there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close and the result is confirmed, Real Madrid have booked their spot in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey alongside Barcelona, Valencia and Real Betis. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live Copa del Rey coverage once again. See you very soon!