MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid keeps extending its impressive run this year.
Zinedine Zidane’s team put on yet another solid performance as it cruised past second-division club Zaragoza 4-0 to reach the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
It was Madrid’s seventh straight win in 2020, extending its unbeaten streak to 20 matches in all competitions. The victories this year included one on penalties over Atlético Madrid to clinch the Spanish Super Cup title.
“We’ve been playing well and we want to keep doing things well,” Zidane said. “We had a good game in all areas today. We did well from start to finish.”
Defending champion Valencia struggled a lot more in a shootout win over third-division club Cultural Leonesa, which had stunned Atlético Madrid in the round of 32.
Real Madrid took the lead in the sixth minute with a close-range strike by defender Raphael Varane after a low cross by Toni Kroos, who also set up Lucas Vázquez’s 32nd-minute goal from inside the area. Vinícius Júnior added the third in the 72nd and Karim Benzema the fourth in the 79th to seal the victory for the visitors at the La Romareda Stadium in northeastern Spain.
Madrid, seeking its first Copa title since 2014, has reached the quarterfinals in three straight seasons. It was eliminated by Barcelona in last year’s semifinals.
The Copa del Rey is the only title missing for Zidane as Real Madrid coach.
Zidane rested some players ahead of Saturday’s derby against Atlético Madrid in the Spanish league, including Casemiro, Gareth Bale and Francisco “Isco” Alarcón. Benzema started on the bench, with Vázquez, Vinícius Júnior and Luka Jovic playing in attack.
Zaragoza had won eight of its last nine matches and entered Wednesday’s match sitting fourth in the 22-team second-division standings. It is looking to return to the top tier for the first time since the 2012-13 season.
The Copa is being played in single-elimination games this season, except in the semifinals.
VALENCIA SCRAPES THROUGH
Valencia beat Cultural Leonesa 4-2 win on penalties following a 0-0 draw after extra time.
Valencia goalkeeper Jaume Domenech saved the first two penalties he faced in the shooutout, and playmaker Dani Parejo converted the decisive spot kick to send the visitors through.
Cultural Leonesa, which was trying to reach the last eight for the first time, had one of the game’s best scoring chances when Julián Luque’s shot from inside the area hit the crossbar in the first half of extra time.
Cultural Leonesa eliminated Atlético Madrid 2-1 in the previous round.
Villarreal scored goals in the 83rd and 85th minutes to defeat second-division club Rayo Vallecano 2-0 in Madrid, while Real Sociedad ousted Osasuna 3-1.
Granada needed extra time to beat third-division club Badajoz 3-2. Badajoz scored in second-half stoppage time to force the additional 30 minutes.
On Tuesday, Athletic Bilbao advanced by beating second-division club Tenerife 4-2 on penalties.
Barcelona, struggling under new coach Quique Setién, hosts Leganés on Thursday. The Catalan club was runner-up to Valencia last season.
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