BARCA HELD, REAL ROMP

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

BARCELONA were held 1-1 by lowly Her­cules in their King’s Cup last 32 first-leg match yes­ter­day while Mar­i­ano scored a hat­trick as Real Madrid romped to a 6-1 se­cond-leg vic­tory over third-tier Cul­tural Leonesa and a 13-2 ag­gre­gate tri­umph.

Barca’s Car­les Alena struck a sub­lime ef­fort in the 58th minute to can­cel out David Mainz’s close-range opener six min­utes ear­lier as the cup hold­ers came from be­hind but had to ac­cept a draw in a match they dom­i­nated.

The Span­ish cham­pi­ons’ strug­gles in La Liga fol­lowed them to Se­gunda B side Her­cules as a much-changed side made it three do­mes­tic games with­out a win after a dis­jointed per­for­mance.

“In terms of the in­ten­sity, I didn’t see re­laxed play­ers,” Barcelona coach Luis En­rique told re­porters. “We wanted to win.

“I’m not happy, but we’ve tried to cre­ate prob­lems for a team that has changed its sys­tem to have five play­ers in de­fence.”

Real Madrid, play­ing a leg ear­lier than ev­ery­one else ahead of their Club World Cup cam­paign, held a 7-1 lead after the first game and made short shrift of their op­po­nents at the Bern­abeu, open­ing the scor­ing after 23 sec­onds through Do­mini­can for­ward Mar­i­ano.

James Ro­driguez added a se­cond in the 23rd minute be­fore Mar­i­ano, on his de­but, dou­bled his tally.

The visi­tors pulled one back through Yerey Gon­za­lez just be­fore the break, but Real dom­i­nated the se­cond half, Zi­dane’s son Enzo mark­ing his de­but with a goal and Mar­i­ano round­ing off his hat­trick with a header.

“We’re ready for what’s go­ing to be a great game and we’ll start pre­par­ing to­mor­row,” Zi­dane said, look­ing ahead to this weekend’s Cla­sico. “Tonight we’ll rest.”

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