MX23RW : Thursday, January 17 15:51:04
Dec 2, 2015 at 9pm UK at ​Estadio Ramón de Carranza
Real Madrid
Marquez (88')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Cheryshev (4'), Isco (66', 74')

Preview: Cadiz vs. Real Madrid

Sports Mole previews the Copa del Rey clash between Cadiz and Real Madrid.

Rafael Benitez is hoping to see his Real Madrid side pick up their third win in a week with victory over Segunda B outfit Cadiz in the Copa del Rey.

The ex-Liverpool manager may field a much-changed side, but will be keen to avoid an upset in the first leg at the Estadio Ramon de Carranza.


Ponferradina's coach Claudio Barragan gestures during their Spanish Cup football match against Real Madrid at El Toralin Stadium in Ponferrada, on december 13, 2011. Real Madrid won the match 2-0.© Getty Images

Real sporting director Emilio Butragueno has fond memories of previous visits to the Cadiz and has praised the club's "great tradition and extremely passionate supporters".

El Buitre has other reasons for relishing his trip to the Ramon de Carranza, as it is here he was given his first big break in La Real's second team, under the tutelage of Madrid great Alfredo di Stefano.

However, the Yellow Submarine have not backed up their great tradition with great success in recent years and, since the days when El Salvador forward Magico Gonzalez entertained the crowds on the South Coast in the early 1990s, Cadiz have played only one season in the Primera Division.

That came after winning the Segunda title in 2005, but they would finish second from bottom and then dropped into the Segunda B in 2008. Cadiz briefly regained their status in the second tier, only to suffer relegation during their first year back in the division.

Claudio Barragan's side do have some pedigree in terms of testing top-flight opposition, having held Atletico Madrid to a goalless draw in pre-season, although they did lose 5-1 on aggregate to Villarreal in last year's Copa at the same stage.

The Yellow Submarine are unbeaten in their last six league matches (three draws and three victories), including a 1-0 win over Almeria B on Saturday.

Recent form (all competitions): DWDWDW

Real Madrid

Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez holds a press conference after the Real Madrid training session ahead of the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Valdebebas training ground on November 20, 2015© Getty Images

In the wake of the 4-0 home defeat at the hands of bitter rivals Barcelona, Benitez has very much been a man under pressure, with some Real supporters calling for the ex-Liverpool boss to leave the Santiago Bernabeu.

While rumours swirled around the club that star player Cristiano Ronaldo was unhappy with Benitez's approach to managing the team, defender Pepe has since claimed that the squad are very much behind their coach, and president Florentino Perez.

Nevertheless, Madrid have won only four of their last eight in La Liga and now trail leaders Barca by six points.

Los Merengues have at least remained unbeaten in the Champions League, and will qualify in first place in their group if they avoid defeat to Malmo next week.

Real also have the second most potent attack in the Primera Division, even though striker Karim Benzema has struggled for form since becoming embroiled in blackmail allegations concerning France teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

They have also conceded only 11 league goals and kept their seventh clean sheet of the season in a 2-0 win against Eibar at the weekend.

Recent form (all competitions): WWWLLW

Team News

Alvaro Arbeloa for Real Madrid on October 29, 2014© Getty Images

Benitez is expected to ring the changes with the league game against Getafe to come, and Kiko Casilla is likely to start in goal, having featured regularly in cup competitions this season.

Alvaro Arbeloa could also start for Los Merengues, with Gareth Bale and Ronaldo possibly on the bench or even left out altogether, although with injuries blighting the first-team squad at the moment, the former Premier League stars could yet feature.

However, the game may offer the chance for Benzema to make his first start since the 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Barca.

Meanwhile, Barragan's biggest decision will be whether to start with Lolo Pla, who scored the winner against Almeria B, or to retain Kike Marquez in attack.

Cadiz possible starting lineup:
Cifuentes, Juanjo, Servando, Aridane, Andres, Quintana, Abel, Hugo, Machado, Pla, Guiza

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Casilla, Pepe, Nacho, Danilo, Kroos, Rodriguez, Arbeloa, Kovacic, Modric, Benzema, Lazo

Head To Head

Cadiz have only met Real Madrid twice at senior level, with both encounters coming during the 2005-06 season, and both ending in defeat.

The first meeting in August 2005 saw Brazilian international Ronaldo open the scoring and, despite an equaliser from Matias Pavoni, Los Blancos snatched a late victory thanks to Raul's 84th-minute winner.

Real were stunned by Alexander Medina's opener in the return fixture in January, but goals from Roberto Carlos, David Beckham and a young Robinho saw Juan Ramon Lopez Caro's star-studded team take three points.

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We say: Cadiz 0-3 Real Madrid

Although Los Merengues are expected to field several changes and have conceded 10 goals in their last four games in all competitions, most observers would still expect Real to leave Andalusia with a comfortable victory.

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Real Madrid's Welsh forward Gareth Bale (2nd R) celebrates a goal with teammates during the Spanish league football match SD Eibar vs Real Madrid CF at the Ipurua stadium in Eibar on November 29, 2015.
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