Second-string Real Madrid labour to King’s Cup victory

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MADRID   – A much-changed Real Madrid ground out a 2-0 victory at third-tier Fuenlabrada in their King’s Cup last-32 first leg on Thursday, needing two dubious penalties to break down their stubborn hosts as both sides finished with 10 men.

Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez converted from the spot in the second half put Zinedine Zidane’s side in control of the tie before the return at the Bernabeu in a month’s time.

Las Palmas recorded an impressive 4-1 win away to Deportivo La Coruna while Levante won 2-0 at Girona in the night’s other all-La Liga clash and a spectacular Sergio Canales effort saw Real Sociedad earn a 1-0 win over third-tier hosts Lleida.

Real are seeking to win the competition for the first time since 2014 but Zidane gave opportunities to several squad members for the visit to their lowly local rivals.

There were few chances during an even first half in which Fuenlabrada more than held their own against the illustrious visitors.

Just before the break, however, Madrid took charge and midfielder Marcos Llorente saw a rasping volley tipped onto the bar by former Real goalkeeper Jordi Codina.

The second half started in a similar vein and Asensio gave Madrid the lead on the hour after Achraf Hakimi was pulled back by Fran Garcia.

The foul appeared to be outside the box but referee Ignacio Iglesias deemed that the contact continued into the area and pointed to the spot.

Codina then twice denied young Madrid striker Borja Mayoral in spectacular fashion as the Liga and European champions looked to turn the screw, with Vazquez then firing wide from distance.

Vazquez did score with a penalty 10 minutes from time when Paco Candela was adjudged to have fouled Theo Hernandez from a corner, the midfielder being shown a second yellow card.

With the clock ticking down, Jesus Vallejo was shown a straight red on his Madrid debut for a high tackle on Luis Milla as tempers threatened to flare.(Reuters)

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