MADRID: Real Madrid cruised into the Copa del Rey last 16 on Thursday with a 6-1 rout of third-tier Melilla to progress 10-1 on aggregate in a competition they have won 19 times.
Last month’s 4-0 first leg win in the Spanish enclave on the north African coast got Santiago Solari’s reign as caretaker coach off to a positive start.
Now in full time charge Solari rang the changes for this match up against modest Melilla, with the Argentine resting the likes of Thibaut Courtois, newly crowned Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema.
Real cantered into the next round with a first half double from Marco Asensio and a second half brace from Isco, with Javi Sanchez and Vinicius Junior completing the drubbing.
Already waiting for Real in the next round are their La Liga rivals, current champions and record 30 time winners Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Villarreal, Sevilla, Valencia and Espanyol.
The fixture was a curtain raiser for Sunday’s Copa Libertadores second leg final between Argentinian rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate.
The superclasico has been moved to Madrid following the controversial decision of South America’s football federation, Conmebol, to take the fixture out of Argentina after crowd trouble before the return leg on Nov 24.