Real Madrid's reserves, and youngster Mariano, excel in easy Copa del Rey win

Real Madrid made it to the next round of the Copa del Rey after an easy return leg against Third Division side Cultural Leonesa. The 6-1 win, coupled with the 7-1 thrashing in the first leg, illustrate that Zinedine Zidane's team didn't have strong opposition but also that his squad took both matches seriously. The French coach instead used the match as a preparation for Saturday's Clasico in Barcelona, a major milestone on their way to conquer the La Liga title.


Similar to the first leg in Leon, Zidane took advantage of the chance to give plenty of minutes to bench players and youngsters from the Castilla squad and they all did well. Mariano showed his scoring prowess, Martin Odegaard proved that he shines surrounded by quality players and even Enzo Zidane enjoyed 45 minutes of football at the Santiago Bernabeu.

On top of that, there were no new injuries -- worth a note given the constant sequence this season -- and some competitive time for players such as Casemiro and Pepe, who need to get their pace back coming off injuries.


It's hard for this team to keep clean sheets and this match was no exception. That said, Cultural Leonesa deserved some reward for their efforts and it's hard to blame Real Madrid's back four or Kiko Casilla for a well taken strike by Yeray Gonzalez.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- Zidane achieved all of his objectives in the match: qualified for the next round (something almost taken for granted after the big first leg win), gave minutes to players who needed them and tested a few tactical formations just in case he needs to make some adjustments in the future.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Kiko Casilla, 6 -- Not much work except for a thunder strike about which he couldn't do much.

DF Daniel Carvajal, 7 -- Enjoyed more space than usual and made an impact on his flank with a few pinpointed crosses. Replaced by Zidane to keep him fresh for Saturday's Clasico.

DF Pepe, 7 -- Enjoyed more minutes for the Portuguese international to regain his shape. At this point it's unclear who will start next to Ramos on Saturday. Will it be him or Raphael Varane?

DF Nacho Fernandez, 8 -- First as a centre-back and later on as a full-back, Nacho delivered once more. He even took a few steps forward in the second half, participating in a few decent attacking moves with Marco Asensio and James Rodriguez and even provoked an own goal with a good cross.

DF Tejero, 8 -- Played the first half at left-back and the second on the right. Did very well in both and was quite close to scoring, hitting the post with a well-taken volley.

MF James Rodriguez, 8 -- Played the full 90 minutes, something he badly needed even if it was against lower league opposition. Was generous with his younger teammates and took advantage of a great cross from Carvajal to score with a good header.

MF Casemiro, 6 -- Coming back after two months injured, the Brazilian showed that he has no fear to tackle or risk another knock but he understandably looks one step slow. Seems early for him to start against Barcelona this weekend.

MF Isco Alarcon, 6 -- Enjoyed his 45 minutes and made a few fancy passes. Like Carvajal, Zidane replaced him at halftime to preserve him for the upcoming Clasico.

MF Martin Odegaard, 8 -- He looks a lot more comfortable playing with his first team colleagues than he does with Real Madrid Castilla. His association with Carvajal in the first half was one of the most enjoyable developments of the match.

FW Marco Asensio, 6 -- More subdued than most of his teammates, he seems to have lost some of the spark he showed at the beginning of the season. The fact that he played for the full match is good enough news.

FW Mariano, 9 -- The young striker made the most of this rare chance in front of the Bernabeu: got a hat trick and showed that he is a pure scorer. Maybe not the most skilled player with the ball but extremely talented to convert scoring opportunities in any situation. It's a pity he faces such a tough opposition even for a place on the bench.


DF Raphael Varane, 6 -- Replaced Carvajal after the break. Solid against a timid opponent in the second half.

MF Enzo Zidane, 7 -- Replaced Isco after the break. Participated often, showed his class with the ball and scored after a nice passing play with Odegaard.

GK Ruben Yanez, NR -- Replaced Kiko Casilla after 76 minutes. Didn't have much to do, but enjoyed his 14 minutes on the pitch as much as any other player.