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Real edges closer to title

Saturday, January 11, 2014

MADRID - Real Madrid took a huge step towards the quarter-finals of Spanish soccer's Copa del Rey with a 2-0 win over Osasuna on Thursday in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

Karim Benzema gave the hosts a perfect start when he headed in Luka Modric's cross after 19 minutes.

Jese Rodriguez then gave Madrid breathing space when he chipped home Cristiano Ronaldo's pass after halftime.

And Madrid were only denied a third in comic circumstances moments later as Ronaldo deflected Gareth Bale's goal-bound effort behind.

Real boss Carlo Ancelotti named a strong side with Bale returning to the starting line-up for the first time in four games following a calf injury. Jese was also given a rare chance from the start and he thought he had won his side a penalty on 16 minutes when he went down under a challenge from Osasuna goalkeeper Asier Riesgo.

However, after originally pointing to the spot, referee Jesus Perez Montero reversed his decision and harshly booked Jese for diving.

Minutes later, Madrid were in front as Benzema flicked home Modric's free-kick to register his 99th goal for the club.

And the hosts took advantage of some woeful Osasuna defending to make it 2-0 just before the hour mark as Benzema and Ronaldo combined to tee up Jese to loft the ball over Riesgo.

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