Jese Rodriguez’s early goal sealed a 2-0 aggregate win over Espanyol as Real Madrid edged into the Copa Del Rey semi-finals.
The result means Los Blancos have kept eight consecutive clean sheets, a new club record, as they prepare to meet Atletico Madrid or Athletic Bilbao in the competition’s last eight.
Real Madrid took just seven minutes to open the scoring in the second leg, when Jese controlled Xabi Alonso’s excellent long pass from deep on the chest, beating Kiko Casilla at the near post with a tidy finish.
Cristiano Ronaldo was presented with a glorious chance to double his side’s lead but saw his one-on-one shot saved by the legs of Casilla, who made up for his questionable goalkeeping on Jese’s goal.
Javier Aguirre introduced striker Jhon Cordoba in an attempt to give his side more presence in attack but their efforts were undermined by the dismissal of Victor Sanchez, who was shown a second yellow late in the second half.
7’ GOAL – Jese Rodriguez gives Real Madrid an early lead in the second leg, latching on to Xabi Alonso’s long ball over the top before finishing at the near post.
33’ ANOTHER SAVE – Casilla pulls off another great save, this time clawing off his own line after Angel Di Maria’s deflected shot had wrong-footed the Espanyol keeper.
34’ AND AGAIN – Casilla is in the way once again, saving Ronaldo’s low shot with his legs, somehow turning the ball over the bar. It's a save so good the Portuguese winger laughs in response.
76’ RED CARD – Victor Sanchez is shown his fourth red card in 62 games for Espanyol as he was sent off for a second booking, hitting Alonso with a high foot.
Xabi Alonso made his first assist in all competitions this season by playing in Jese for the opener.
Real Madrid are now unbeaten in their last 20 games, equaling Jose Mourinho’s record in the 2011/12 season.
Real Madrid have now kept eight clean sheets, a new club record overtaking a record from the 1994/95 season.
Iker Casillas has now gone longer without conceding than any other Real Madrid keeper in history (685 minutes).
Is Isco struggling to find his place in this Real Madrid team? When Mesut Ozil left Real Madrid in the summer it appeared to guarantee Isco a starting place for this season. But he looks short of match sharpness and is struggling to hold down a position in Carlo Ancelotti’s fluid front four.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid): The former Liverpool midfielder controlled the pace of the game from the centre circle, picking out the pass that saw Jese Rodriguez open the scoring early in the first half. Asier Illarramendi might be the new kid on the block by Alonso is still the old master.
Real Madrid – Casillas 5, Arbeloa 6, Nacho 6, Ramos 6, Coentrao 7, Alonso 8, Illarramendi 6, Di Maria 6, Jese 8, Ronaldo 5, Isco 5. Subs: Pepe 5.
Espanyol – Casilla 7, Rodriguez 5, Sidnei 7, Moreno 5, Capdevila 5, Abraham 5, Sanchez 3, Torje 5, Alex 5, Pizzi 5, Garcia 6. Subs: Cordoba 5, Stuani 4.