Real Madrid came from a goal down to beat Elche 2-1 in extra time at the Martinez Valero on Thursday evening. Los Blancos can now look forward to a place in the last eight of the Copa del Rey.
Elche took the lead in the 104th minute of the game. Gonzalo Verdu scored directly from a free-kick just after Marcelo had been sent off. Madrid equalised three minutes into the second-half of extra-time, however, through substitute Isco. The much-maligned Eden Hazard, also a substitute, then stepped up to score the winner in the 116th minute to save Madrid’s blushes.
Madrid will face either Mallorca, Cadiz, Rayo Vallecano, Valencia, Real Betis or Real Sociedad – as well as the winners of tonight’s clash between Athletic Club and Barcelona – in the quarter-final. Barcelona won last season’s edition, beating Athletic in the final at La Cartuja thanks to a brace from the great Lionel Messi.
“I’m very happy,” Carlo Ancelotti said post-match in comments carried by Marca. “I think it’s the game that’s given me the most happiness. This is a team with a lot of humility, character, strength. They never give up.
“This is the best thing about this game. Then you can talk about the difficulty, that the game was very complicated, but I highlight the character of this team and these players.
“The squad responded very well. I’m very happy for Isco and Hazard as they haven’t had many minutes but they were there today, we knew it could be a long game. You have to think that it’s possible you could go to extra time, so we were prepared.”