Real face Cup expulsion, Barca sweep aside Villanovens

Madrid, December 3

Real Madrid face being thrown out of this season’s Copa del Rey after reportedly fielding an ineligible player in the first leg of their fourth round tie against Cadiz on Wednesday.

Russian international Denis Cheryshev opened the scoring in Andalusia, but shouldn’t have been on the field as he was due to serve a one-game ban in the competition after picking up three yellow cards whilst on loan at Villarreal last season. Cheryshev was replaced a minute into the second-half by Mateo Kovacic. “Clearly we didn’t know. Villarreal and the federation hadn’t warned us,” said Madrid boss Rafael Benitez.

Isco scored twice after the break before Cristian Marquez’s late consolation rounded off the scoring in a 3-1 Madrid win. However, the result could yet prove meaningless if Madrid are proved to have fallen foul of the competition’s rules with Cadiz president Manolo Vizcaino confirming his club will launch a formal complaint.

Real director of institutional relations Emilio Butragueno also laid the blame at the Spanish Football Federation and Villarreal for not informing Madrid of the ban.

Barca’s fine form continued as Sandro Ramirez scored a hat-trick as the Catalans swept aside third-tier Villanovense 6-1 to book their place in the last 16. Luis Enrique left Lionel Messi out of his 16-man squad, whilst Neymar and Luis Suarez remained on the bench as Barca’s mix of youngsters and veterans proved way too strong for Villanovense after they had held out bravely for a 0-0 draw in the first leg five weeks ago.

Valencia, who announced the appointment of Gary Neville as coach earlier on Wednesday, came from behind to beat Barakaldo 3-1 in the first leg of their fourth round tie. Sevilla cruised to a 3-0 win at Logrones, whilst there were also first leg wins for Real Betis, Rayo Vallecano, Celta Vigo and Deportivo la Coruna.