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Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia

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Benzema: On fire

Benzema: On fire

Karim Benzema and an Andres Guardado own goal sealed a Copa del Rey quarter-final first-leg win for Real Madrid over Valencia.

Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the starting line-up for Jose Mourinho's side following his one-match domestic ban during the disappointing 0-0 draw with Osasuna last time out, and immediately showed what his side missed in that game as he sent two early free-kicks whistling past the woodwork.

Valencia more than matched the La Liga champions and dominated possession at the Bernabeu.

The visitors thought they should have had a penalty after ten minutes when Adil Rami's header from inside the box appeared to strike Raul Albiol on the arm.

The away side had plenty more chances to take the lead as Tino Costa's long-range effort forced a decent save out of Iker Casillas before Jonas sent a curling shot just over the crossbar.

But it was Madrid who broke the deadlock when Benzema rounded off an incredible counter attack by finishing past Guaita against the run of play.

The out-of-sorts Madrid side came incredibly close to throwing away their lead in the second half.

Victor Ruiz sent a looping header over from close range before Jonas fired wide of an empty net after Casillas had turned Roberto Soldado's shot straight into the striker's path.

Mourinho's side breathed a sigh of relief after 73 minutes as Gonzalo Higuain tried to bundle in Fabio Coentrao's cross, only for the ball to deflect off Guardado's arm and into the net.

As Valencia piled men forward in search of a goal Unai Emery's side left gaps in the defence but Guaita was on hand to deny Ronaldo on two occasions with a couple of outstanding saves.

Mourinho celebrated his 600th game as a coach with an unimpressive win and will be wary of Los Che in the second-leg at Mestalla in a week's time.

Posted: 15/01/13 22:59

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