Evening all! Welcome to Sports Mole
's live commentary of the first leg of the last-16 Copa del Rey
clash between Real Madrid
from the Bernabeu. Leganes will be looking to dump Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey for the second successive season. The first leg of the affair takes place at the Bernabeu tonight, before Real Madrid visit Leganes for the second leg next week. It is a huge match for Los Blancos when considering what has occurred in the early stages of 2019.
Real Madrid have not actually won the Copa del Rey since 2014 and as mentioned, were dumped out of the competition by Leganes in the quarter-finals last season. Los Blancos led 1-0 from the first leg of their last-eight affair, but Leganes picked up a 2-1 victory at the Bernabeu in the second leg to progress on away goals. Will there be a repeat tonight?
REAL MADRID: Navas; Odriozola, Nacho, Ramos, Reguilon; Ceballos, Casemiro, Valverde; Vazquez, Benzema, Vinicius
LEGANES: Cuellar; Bustinza, Tarin, Siovas; Juanfran, Perez, Recio, Gumbau; El Zhar; Sabin, Braithwaite
Real Madrid's injury problems worsened with the news that key midfielder Toni Kroos is facing a spell on the sidelines with a groin injury. Kroos joins Marco Asensio, Marcos Llorente and Mariano Diaz on the treatment table, while Gareth Bale will again miss out with a calf problem, leaving Santiago Solari short in the final third of the field. Lucas Vazquez
and Vinicius Junior
will flank Karim Benzema, while recent arrival from Manchester City Brahim Diaz is on the bench for the hosts.
As for Leganes, there is a debut for on-loan Middlesbrough attacker Martin Braithwaite. Nabil El Zhar will seemingly start in the false nine position, but Ezequiel Munoz and Michael Santos remain on the sidelines. The visitors will seemingly take to the field in a 3-4-3 formation.
KICKOFF: Leganes kick things off tonight. The European champions are not currently in crisis mode, but elimination to Leganes once again in the Copa del Rey would leave the Spanish giants facing the strong possibility of a trophy-less campaign. It is a huge, huge game for the hosts.
Real Madrid landed their fourth Club World Club at the back end of 2018, but the new year has not been kind to the European champions, who have picked up just one point from their two La Liga fixtures in 2019. Santi Cazorla scored twice for Villarreal as Los Blancos were held at Estadio de la Ceramica last week, before Real Sociedad recorded a 2-0 win at the Bernabeu on Sunday night. As a result, Santiago Solari's side sit fifth in Spain's top flight and are now 10 points off the pace being set by leaders and indeed champions Barcelona. The hosts have to put a win on the board tonight.
Leganes might have knocked Real Madrid out of last season's Copa del Rey with a 2-1 win at the Bernabeu, but the team from the outskirts of the Spanish capital suffered a 4-1 defeat at Los Blancos in the early stages of the 2018-19 La Liga campaign. Nothing much early on here.
Leganes have only lost one of their last seven matches in all competitions, meanwhile, and that was a 1-0 defeat at Espanyol in the league on January 4. There is absolutely no pressure on Mauricio Pellegrino's side tonight, which makes them dangerous opposition. Real Madrid have the early possession here, but neither goalkeeper has been concerned with six on the clock.
As mentioned, Leganes beat Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of last season's Copa del Rey, with a 2-1 victory at the Bernabeu in the second leg seeing them progress on away goals. Los Blancos recorded a 4-1 victory when the pair met at the Bernabeu in La Liga earlier this season, however, and have won six of their seven meetings in all competitions. There is a decent atmosphere inside the Bernabeu tonight, but it is far from a full house, which is really not too much of a surprise.
Decent pressure from Leganes in the last couple of minutes, but Real Madrid clear a corner into the box before Bustinza is crowded out as he attempts to flick an effort towards goal.
SAVE! The first shot of the match sees Cuellar save from Ceballos.
Ramos hits a free kick from a promising position straight into the Leganes wall.
The Copa del Rey is not high on Leganes' list of priorities this season as their sole focus will be on securing another campaign of La Liga football. They have been in this position before, however, and know what it takes to beat a wounded Real Madrid over two legs of a Copa del Rey tie. Fourteen minutes on the clock and we are still goalless, but the hosts have been on the front foot.
SAVE! Cuellar has to keep out a Benzema header. The cross came from Odriozola, but Benzema's header never had enough power to find the back of the net.
CLOSE! Benzema misses the crossbar from a good position following smart work from Lucas, who is just starting to see more of the ball in in the final third of then field.
CLOSE! Gumbau delivers a very dangerous cross into the Real Madrid box, but Braithwaite cannot meet it and Ramos turns behind for a corner kick. Big moment there.
SAVE! Comfortable save for Navas to keep out an attempt from Braithwaite.
Plenty happening at the moment as both teams continue to commit players in the final third of the field. It must be said that neither defensive unit looks very secure at the moment.
Leganes have a free kick in a dangerous position as Sabin is felled by Casemiro...
SHOT! ... Gumbau fires high and wide of the Real Madrid crossbar.
Leganes are pushing high up the field at the moment as they look to win the ball off Real Madrid in dangerous positions. It is a very even game with 25 minutes on the clock here.
PENALTY APPEAL! Odriozola wants a penalty as Tarin bundles into the Real Madrid defender inside the box, but the referee is not interested. It looks to be the right call.
CHANCE! Huge chance for Braithwaite to score for Leganes on his debut as the attacker breaks into a one-on-one situation with Navas, but he just misses the post!
Well, it hasn't been dull. Plenty has happened in the first 29 minutes of this match with both teams having opportunities to take the lead. It is still goalless, but neither defence looks secure and both attacks will fancy their chances of scoring before the night is out.
Pass, pass, pass from Real Madrid as they look to work the ball into a shooting position, but Leganes' back three stays strong as another cross that arrives is headed clear by Siovas.
Just a reminder that the second leg of this last-16 tie will take place next week. Real Madrid are the big favourites, but Leganes did knock them out of the competition last season.
Little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining and we are still waiting for the first goal. Real Madrid are currently probing without really threatening to break the lines here.
SAVE! Huge save from Navas to keep out a header from Braithwaite!
Braithwaite is causing Real Madrid's back four all sorts of problems at the moment. That really was a wonderful save from Navas, who is not receiving too much protection here.
Leganes are having to work hard to defend their goal at the moment, with Gumbau and Juanfran in the wide areas getting through plenty of running. Real Madrid are having loads of the ball, but are not really testing Cuellar. Vinicius probably the brightest attacker for the hosts.
CHANCE! Casemiro finds Odriozola inside the Leganes box and the defender really should have a shot, but he attempts to cross into Benzema and the danger is cleared.
PENALTY! REAL MADRID PENALTY! Real Madrid have a spot kick as Odriozola is brought to the ground by Gumbau, who picks up a yellow card for his troubles. Bit clumsy!
GOAL! REAL MADRID 1-0 LEGANES (RAMOS, PEN)
Real Madrid make the breakthrough as Ramos finds the bottom corner of the net.
We are into the first minute of added time at the end of the first period.
HALF TIME: REAL MADRID 1-0 LEGANES
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with Real Madrid leading Leganes 1-0 courtesy of that penalty from Ramos. It was a fairly even first half of action, but Ramos's strike has given the European champions an advantage at the half-time interval.
STATISTICS! Real Madrid had 62% of the possession in the first period, while they had eight attempts, four of which were on target. Leganes, meanwhile, hit the target with two of their five attempts. Just the one booking to report - Leganes' Gumbau for the penalty incident.
BENCH WATCH! En Nesyri, Eraso, Omeruo and Silva are among those on the Leganes bench tonight. There is no question that Pellegrino has options in reserve and we should see at least two of those in the second period. Real Madrid's bench, meanwhile, includes the likes of Isco, Modric and a certain Brahim Diaz, who could debut following a recent move from Manchester City.
KICKOFF: Real Madrid resume the action here...
... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, both managers will have alterations in mind as the second period develops in the capital.
LEGANES SUB! Excuse me, there has been a change. Jonathan Silva has entered the field for Leganes in place of Gumbau, who was on a yellow card.
SHOT! Ceballos misses the target with a strike from outside the Leganes box.
SAVE! Decent stop from Cuellar to keep out a low Reguilon strike.
Odriozola has been very, very good for Real Madrid tonight. The defender won the penalty which saw the hosts take the lead and he continues to cause problems in a wide position.
Brahim Diaz will hope to make his debut for Real Madrid tonight and it seems likely that the Spaniard will be given some minutes. The home side are still very much on the front foot.
CLOSE! Valverde's strike from distance flies over the Leganes crossbar!
YELLOW CARD! Lucas (Real Madrid) is booked for a heavy challenge on Recio.
Little over 30 minutes of the second period remaining and we have not seen too much from Leganes since the interval. Real Madrid are the team very much on the front foot here.
CLOSE! Vinicius curls wide of the far post after dancing into the Leganes box.
Cuellar does well to claw clear a deep free kick as Real Madrid continue to threaten. No movement on the Real Madrid bench at the moment but we are entering that stage here.
LEGANES SUB! Eraso replaces El Zhar for the away side.
Isco and Diaz continue to warm-up on the touchline as the clock ticks on. Not too much to report in terms of opportunities at the moment, but the hosts continue to dominate the ball.
Pass, pass, pass from Real Madrid as we head for the final 20 minutes of action.
GOAL! REAL MADRID 2-0 LEGANES (VAZQUEZ)
Real Madrid double their advantage in the 69th minute as a mistake from the away side leads to Vinicius squaring for Vazquez, who finds the back of the net for 2-0!
REAL MADRID SUB! Isco replaces Vazquez for the home side.
Brahim Diaz looks to have been given the call back to the bench here.
Huge moment for Diaz as the recent arrival from Man City stands on the touchline.
GOAL! REAL MADRID 3-0 LEGANES (VINICIUS)
Real Madrid have their third of the match in the 77th minute as Vinicius sensationally finds the back of the net with an improvised volley! Exceptional finish from the Brazilian!
LEGANES SUB! Jose replaces Juanfran for the away side.
REAL MADRID SUB! Diaz is on for his debut in place of Vinicius.
I am not entirely sure what has happened to Leganes in this second period. The visitors were really good for long spells of the first half but have just not turned up in the second here.
SAVE! Decent save from Navas to keep out another Braithwaite header.
SAVE! Cuellar makes an excellent save to keep out a curling Isco strike.
REAL MADRID SUB! Benzema is replaced by Gonzalez.
YELLOW CARD! Valverde (Real Madrid) is booked for a foul on Eraso.
Diaz challenges Silva and Leganes can put the pressure on from a corner...
CLOSE! ... Merino's header misses the post.
Little over two minutes of normal time remaining in the Spanish capital and this type of result is just what Real Madrid needed following their defeat to Real Sociedad at the weekend.
CLOSE! Isco's low attempt just misses the Leganes post.
We are into second-half stoppage time and it looks like this one will finish 3-0.
Real Madrid see an attack break down and that could be that for this match. Leganes have a serious job on their hands in the second leg of this last-16 tie next week.
YELLOW CARD! Perez (Leganes) is booked for dissent.
FULL TIME: REAL MADRID 3-0 LEGANES
So there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Real Madrid running out 3-0 winners over Leganes in the first leg of their last-16 Copa del Rey tie. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage once again. See you next time!