Varane nets 2, Madrid beats 3rd-tier rival in Copa
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Raphael Varane headed in two corner kicks to help Real Madrid start its Copa del Rey title defense with a 4-1 win at third-division Cornella on Wednesday.
The France center back opened the scoring in the 10th of the first-leg match before Cornella striker Oscar Munoz leveled to the delight of the home fans in the 20th.
But Varane struck again in the 36th before forward Javier Hernandez and Marcelo added goals in the second half.
Not too far away, Iago Aspas hit a hat trick as Sevilla won 6-1 at second-division Sabadell to take control of its tie.
A semi-professional team, Cornella fielded a starting 11 that included a dentist, a topographer and an employee of the city’s bike sharing scheme.
Marcelo’s celebration of his 75th-minute goal that included a somersault and a sprint to hug teammates in the dugout didn’t sit well with some of Cornella’s players.
“We play in the third division and we don’t make a lot of money, sometimes you have to know where you are at,” Munoz said. “He told me that he had to celebrate it. But it’s over now. No worries.”
Despite the defeat, Cornella’s players went on a lap of the pitch after the final whistle to receive the praise of their supporters.
“We had to take advantage of it,” Munoz said. “It was the first time I have ever played in front of so many people.”
It was Madrid’s 10th straight win in all competitions. It has outscored opponents 42-7 in that run.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti rested Cristiano Ronaldo, but otherwise the Italian manager took no chances and aligned all first-team players.
Germany midfielder Sami Khedira made his first start of the season, while goalkeeper Keylor Navas got his second start since joining from Levante during the summer.
Apart from failing to deal with Varane, Cornella played above its status for long stretches of the match played at Espanyol’s Power8 Stadium, in the Barcelona neighborhood whose name Cornella shares. Cornella reached the deal to play at the 40,000-seat stadium because its home ground only holds 1,500.
The European champions, however, had little trouble securing victory.
“The atmosphere was very good. We had a lot of fans here,” Ancelotti said. “They worked very hard and showed they were well organized. All the fans can be happy with the entertaining game.”
Varane jumped above two defenders to redirect James Rodriguez’s cross home to set Madrid on its way.
Cornella showed some unexpected flair going forward and thrilled its fans with the equalizer.
Munoz finished off a nice team buildup by using his body to fend off Alvaro Arbeloa before firing the ball past Navas after teammate Jose Avellaneda had used one touch to set him up.
“I won the lottery and it went in,” Munoz said. “But after that, their talent marked the difference.”
Varane struck again from a corner James Rodriguez helped earn with a shot that goalie Jose Segovia turned round the post.
Varane charged in a second time and glanced home Francisco “Isco” Alarcon’s corner with his head and shoulder.
Hernandez rolled Madrid’s third past Segovia in the 53rd. Marcelo then went on and fired in a rebound of Isco’s shot.
The second leg will be played at the Santiago Bernabeu on Dec. 2.
Defender Timothee Kolodziejczak opened the scoring for Sevilla in the 28th minute and Aspas, playing on loan from Liverpool, volleyed home in the 43rd before adding another in the 60th.
Jose Antonio Reyes earned a penalty that Kevin Gameiro converted in the 66th before Reyes scored from long distance in the 70th. Sabadell’s Ernest Forgas managed a consolation goal in the 75th before Aspas scored his third with an injury-time penalty.
Wednesday’s games were brought forward because Madrid is playing in the FIFA Club World Cup in December. The other first legs of this round will be played in the first week in December.