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Real Madrid avoids another early Copa del Rey exit

 Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal, right, celebrates his goal with his fellow teammate Marcelo from Brazil  after scored against Murcia d...
 Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain from Argentina, background, celebrates with fellow team member Sergio Ramos after scoring against Murcia during their S...
 Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho, left, watches the match in the stand after he was expelled from the pitch by the referee during their Spanish seco...

Spain Soccer Copa del Rey

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal, right, celebrates his goal with his fellow teammate Marcelo from Brazil after scored against Murcia d...

Spain Soccer Copa del Rey

Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain from Argentina, background, celebrates with fellow team member Sergio Ramos after scoring against Murcia during their S...

Spain Soccer Copa del Rey

Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho, left, watches the match in the stand after he was expelled from the pitch by the referee during their Spanish seco...

Real Madrid avoided another embarrassing Copa del Rey exit to a lower-tier club with a 5-1 fourth-round victory over Murcia on Wednesday.
After a scoreless first leg, Madrid midfielder Esteban Granero curled Pedro Leon's pass into the top of goal from long-range in the fourth minute to put his team ahead. Gonzalo Higuain made it 2-0 in the 44th.
Madrid ran away in the second half with goals from substitute Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso.
"We know every game is difficult and we can't underestimate any opponent," said Granero, whose team avoided exiting to a third-division club for the third straight season.
Granero's superb goal showed Madrid _ which lost to minnow Alcorcon 4-1 on aggregate last year _ was keen to avoid an upset under coach Jose Mourinho, who forced several fans from their seats in the front row of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium after being sent from the touchline in the 39th minute.
Higuain made up for a close-range miss by doubling the advantage and Madrid came out strong after the break with Ronaldo's entrance.
Benzema hit the crossbar in the 61st and the attacking push continued after Angel Di Maria came on in the 70th to find Ronaldo from the left side for the Portugal forward to score his 13th goal of the campaign.
Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa was shown his second yellow card in the 82nd and, moments later, Alonso handled inside the area for Murcia pull one back through Pedro Sanchez's penalty.
But Benzema scored his second of the campaign _ and first since Sept. 21 _ from a penalty in the 85th after Di Maria was pulled down, and Alonso added the last in the 89th.
Real Betis joined fellow second-division club Cordoba in the next round after beating Zaragoza 2-1 to advance on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate score.
Betis went ahead in the 12th on an own goal by Matteo Contini before Jiri Jarosik put Zaragoza back ahead again two minutes later.
But Ruben Castro slotted home Arturo "Arzu" Garcia's pass in the 35th to seal the second division leader's progression.
Ten of the 16 matches were being played on Wednesday, including Barcelona against Ceuta, which the Spanish champion leads 2-0 after the first leg.
Cordoba eliminated Racing Santander on away goals Tuesday when Espanyol also advanced over Valladolid.
___
Associated Press Writer Joseph Wilson contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-10-22 04:36 GMT+08:00