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
1Barcelona1916305294351
2Atletico MadridAtletico1912612882042
3Valencia19124340192140
4Real Madrid1895432171532
5Villarreal199462621531
6Sevilla199282328-529
7Real Betis198383336-327
8EibarEibar198382431-727
9Getafe197572318526
10GironaGirona197572828026
11Celta Vigo197483327625
12Athletic Bilbao196762019125
13Leganes187381517-224
14Espanyol196671521-624
15Real Sociedad196583334-123
16Levante193971526-1118
17AlavesAlaves1960131427-1318
18Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo1944112137-1616
19Malaga1932141333-2011
20Las PalmasLas Palmas1932141446-3211
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