Copa del Rey: Barcelona and Real Madrid have one foot in round of 16

Real Madrid began life after Julen Lopetegui with a comfortable 4-0 win at
Melilla, while Barcelona edged past Cultural Leonesa 1-0 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey round-of-32 ties on Wednesday night.

In their first match since Lopetegui was sacked following a humiliating 5-1 defeat to rivals Barcelona, caretaker Santiago Solari watched goals from Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, Alvaro Odriozola and Cristo sweep aside the Segunda B side.

Solari saved Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos the trip to the north coast of Africa and the Spanish enclave of Melilla, but did start with captain Sergio Ramos and Benzema in the round-of-32 first-leg clash.

Lucas Vazquez saw a long-range effort tipped just over the crossbar by home goalkeeper Dani Barrio midway through the first half, but Benzema finally broke the deadlock in the 28th minute after being teed up from close range by Odriozola.

Real doubled their lead in first-half injury time (45+1) when Asensio fired home after good work from young Brazilian Vinicius Junior.

Vinicius thundered an effort against the crossbar after the restart as Madrid continued to dominate, but they had to wait until the 79th minute to make it 3-0.

Sergio Reguilon’s effort was parried by Barrios and, after Vinicius had an effort blocked, Odriozola rammed home from a yard out.

Cristo’s goal came deep into injury time as Madrid made the win even more emphatic – the substitute nodding in Odriozola’s inviting cross to establish a healthy cushion for the return leg in the first week of December.

Meanwhile, defending champions Barcelona needed a stoppage-time header from France international Clement Lenglet to secure a 1-0 win at third-division Cultural Leonesa.

Record 30-times cup winners Barca were on the back foot against Cultural Leonesa, with goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen making some smart saves to keep Ernesto Valverde’s heavily rotated side on level terms.

However, Lenglet was on hand to head Ousmane Dembele’s free-kick home at the near post in stoppage time to earn the Catalans a narrow advantage heading into the second leg, with those matches taking place between December 4-6.

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