A year ago
A year ago
Real Madrid defeated Villarreal 3-2 on Thursday in the Copa del Rey, and Dani Ceballos' late goal sealed the victory and completed an incredible comeback.
In the Supercopa de Espana final on Sunday, Madrid was defeated 3-1 by rival Barcelona and trailed by two goals at halftime at Estadio de la Ceramica thanks to goals from Samuel Chukwueze and Etienne Capoue.
Vinicius Junior, however, cut the lead in half with a cool finish in the 57th minute, and Eder Militao then pushed the ball home from close range.
The match in the round of 16 appears to be headed towards overtime. Ceballos emerged as Madrid's improbable hero by striking out to preserve Madrid's chances of capturing a 20th Copa del Rey championship. The hosts took the lead after just four minutes when Capoue seized on Gerard Moreno's deft flick and fired hard past Thibaut Courtois from a tight angle.
After Ferland Mendy did well to set up Federico Valverde and Rodrygo, both of them missed the conversion, and Villarreal made Madrid pay when Moreno dinked a lovely through ball into Chukwueze, who made no mistake.
After some deft interaction allowed the Brazil international in on goal, Vinicius pulled Madrid back into the game, and parity was restored 12 minutes later. Militao successfully scored after Filip Jorgensen palmed Karim Benzema's header into his path.
With four minutes left to go, Ceballos calmly guided the ball past the diving Jorgensen to give Carlo Ancelotti's team the victory. Madrid was soundly defeated by Barcelona on Sunday, and it appeared as though they were still feeling the effects of it as a poor start allowed Villarreal to quickly take a 2-0 lead.
After the break, however, Ancelotti's team much outperformed Villarreal, and they ultimately prevailed deservedly thanks to a goal from Ceballos, who gave them a 1.96 expected goals differential over Villarreal's 1.21.
While the goal scorers will undoubtedly receive praise, the much-improved second-half defensive performance held the hosts without a shot on goal while managing five of their own.
CEBALLOS SEIZES THE OPPORTUNITY.
The former Arsenal midfielder has only played three LaLiga games this year, but he made the most of this cup opportunity.
Ceballos was joint-top among Madrid players for shots (two), opportunities created (two), and assists in addition to his spectacular finish for the game's winning goal (one).
NOT AT HIS BEST, BENZEMA
The current Ballon d'Or winner delivered a lackluster performance despite contributing to Madrid's equalizer, falling short of the high standards he had set for himself.
In addition to failing to complete a successful dribble or win any of his four duels, Benzema was unable to score with either of his two shots. Vinicius and Ceballos were left to carry the offensive load for Madrid as a result.
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