Benzema’s beautiful bit of history
very difficult rival,” Real captain Sergio Ramos said. “We didn’t win but we kept our streak alive.”
Cristiano Ronaldo and other regulars were left out of the starting lineup to rest on Thursday.
Benzema netted the equalizer less than 20 minutes after coming off the bench at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
The host got on the board with an own goal by Madrid defender Danilo in the 10th minute.
However, Marco Asensio dampened the crowd’s hopes with a superb 70-meter run from inside his own penalty area all the way to the Madrid box before unleashing an equalizer just after halftime.
At that point, Sevilla needed four goals to advance, and it added two through former Manchester City striker Stevan Jovetic, who is on loan from Inter Milan, and Vicente Iborra.
But Madrid netted again near the end with a penalty, audaciously converted ‘Panenka’ style by Ramos, who was returning from injury. The defender celebrated by provoking home fans that had been hurling insults at him.
“I apologized to the fans who didn’t disrespect me like those who have been tainting the image of Sevilla supporters,” said Ramos, a Seville native and a former Sevilla player. “In the end, this will always be home for me.”
It was a matchup between the top two teams in La Liga, and a rematch of the Super La Liga fixtures
(all times GMT) Saturday Leganes v Athletic Bilbao (1200, Barcelona v Las Palmas (1515, Atletico Madrid v Real Betis (1730,
Deportivo la Coruna v Villarreal (1945, Sunday Valencia v Espanyol (1100), Celta Vigo v Alaves (1515,
Monday Malaga v Real Sociedad (1945,
PPTV) Cup final that Madrid won in extra time five months ago.
“We were close,” Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli said. “We played better the entire match. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take our chances to show the difference there was between the teams.”
The sides meet again in Seville in the league on Sunday, when Madrid will defend its four-point lead. Zidane’s team also has a game in hand.
Madrid is trying to win its first Copa since 2014. Last season, it was disqualified in the opening round for fielding an ineligible player.