Real Madrid CF 6-1 UD Melilla: 4 takeaways | Copa del Rey 2018-19
It was a vintage performance from the Blancos as they progressed to the next round of the Copa del Rey at the Santiago Bernabeu. Santiago Solari fielded a much-changed XI to face the African coast club who they'd already defeated 4-0 in the first leg back in October.
Keylor Navas started in goal for the home side. Also making his first appearance since returning from injury was Jesus Vallejo, who played alongside youngster, Javi Sanchez, at the heart of the Madrid defense.
Odriozola started in his natural right-back slot, while Carvajal was asked to play as an inverted fullback on the left flank. The midfield consisted of Marcos Llorente, making his third consecutive start for the club for the first time, with Isco and Valverde either side of him. Mariano also started his first match since returning to full fitness.
Vinicius made his first start at the Bernabeu, playing on the left wing, and Marco Asensio was stationed on the right.
The home team started as they meant to go, pressing Melilla, who looked tired from the first minute, lacking the energy to keep up with Madrid's frantic attacking, and Marco Asensio rediscovered his golden touch against the minnows, scoring twice and laying on a beautiful assist for Javi Sanchez, who took his attempt like the very best of #9's around.
The second half saw Llorente and Carvajal taken off in place of Ceballos and Garcia, and Ceballos had an instant impact, setting up the night's captain, who smashed a beautiful effort into the top corner in very Isco-esque manner to make it four.
Vinicius took on 3 Melilla defenders, and made it 5 with 15 minutes to go after Asensio laid the ball onto him. The first shot was parried away, but the rebound fell right onto his feet, and he made no mistake, getting his goal.
Javi Sanchez added a blemish in otherwise a perfect evening by fouling Quasmi in his own box at the 80th minute, and the man himself stepped up and stroked his effort past a wrong-footed Keylor Navas.
Madrid hit back almost instantly, as Fran Garcia set up Isco, who scored a similar goal to his first one to make it 6-1 on the night, and rounded off a humiliating 10-1 aggregate victory. Mariano limped off the pitch soon after, and Madrid finished the game with 10 men. Here are the talking points from the game.
#1 Marcos Llorente's growing importance
Since Casemiro picked up a knock against Celta Vigo, Marcos Llorente has stepped up to fill in for the burly Brazilian. The Spaniard doesn't bring the same brutal physicality, but his play has been superb so far, and the squad has not missed Casemiro.
Llorente gives the team a different dimension, as he offers them a platform to build play from the deep, unlike Casemiro, but he also fulfills his defensive duties in helping out his full-backs and defenders during their attacking forays.
The soon returning Brazilian would find it hard to break back into the team, as Llorente started his third successive game, completing a good 45 before being subbed off by Solari, who must've had the clash against Huesca in mind.