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
1Barcelona98102632325
2Valencia963025101521
3Real Madrid96211871120
4Atletico MadridAtletico9540145919
5Leganes952283517
6Villarreal95131510516
7Real Betis95131917216
8Sevilla951398116
9Real Sociedad94232018214
10Celta Vigo93241814411
11Athletic Bilbao93241010011
12Levante9252911-211
13Espanyol9243812-410
14Getafe9234111019
15GironaGirona9234914-59
16Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo92251018-88
17EibarEibar9216320-177
18Las PalmasLas Palmas9207722-156
19AlavesAlaves9108314-113
20Malaga9018420-161