Copa del Rey round of 32 second leg, Santiago Bernabeu - Real Madrid 2 (Mayoral 61', 69') Fuenlabrada 2 (Milla 24', Portilla 88')
Real Madrid were made to work hard for their place in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey, with Fuenlabrada pushing Zinedine Zidane’s side all the way, claiming a 2-2 second leg draw at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Spanish and European champions might have been expected to coast through the second leg of this tie, having won the first leg comfortably 2-0. But this was anything but comfortable. In fact, Fuenlabrada could claim to have been the better side over the 90 minutes.
Having threatened for much of the first half, they took the lead after 24 minutes, making the most of some slack defensive play from the hosts. The introduction of Gareth Bale off the bench proved a turning point, with the Welshman putting on two assists as Real Madrid finally took a grip of things.
Fuenlabrada netted a late equaliser to underline just how close they’d pushed Real Madrid, but ultimately it did little to affect the final outcome. However, Zidane will be concerned by the nature of his side’s performance.
TALKING POINT - Trying to make sense of the Real Madrid support’s difficult relationship with Gareth Bale
Making his long-awaited return from injury, Bale was booed by his own fans as he entered the Santiago Bernabeu pitch. Within 60 seconds, he had provided the assist that got Real Madrid out of a rather deep hole. Indeed, the Welsh winger proved to be the difference for Real, so what’s the reason behind his difficult relationship with the club’s support? Injuries have been a frustration, but Bale always delivers. What more can he do?
MAN OF THE MATCH - Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
The dynamic of the game completely changed with the introduction of Bale off the bench in the second half. Up until then, Real Madrid had struggled for a spark in the final third of the pitch. In fact, they’d struggled to reach the final third of the pitch at all. But Bale gave them the pace and directness needed to expose Fuenlabrada, putting on two assists. In the space of just 30 minutes, the Welshman underlined his quality.
Real Madrid - Navas 4, Achraf 6, Nacho 5, Tejero 5, Theo 5, Feuillassier 5, Llorente 6, Kovacic 6, Oscar 5, Mayoral 7, Ceballos 6. Subs - Bale 8.
Fuenlabrada - Pol 6, Isma 5, Diaz 6, Juanma 6, Fran 6, Milla 7, Cristobal 5, Bravo 6, Yaw 5, Matheus 7, Fraile 7.
4’ WHAT A CHANCE! That should have been an opener for Fuenlabrada. The ball was played to the penalty spot from the byline, but somehow Fraile managed to put his shot over the bar.
7’ ANOTHER SITTER! Well, this is quite something. Fuenlabrada are cutting open Real Madrid, this time Tejero shoots straight at Navas after breaking the hosts' offside trap. What a chance.
24’ GOAL! Real Madrid 0-1 Fuenlabrada: Incredible! Little Fuenlabrada have taken the lead at the Santiago Bernabeu! Milla takes aim from 25 yards, strikes the bar, with the ball ending up in the net via Navas. Wow!
63’ FUENLABRADA OFF THE BAR! This is sensational! Now Fuenlabrada hit the woodwork through Diaz, who directed a header towards goal from a freekick. The away side have Real Madrid on the ropes.
65’ GOAL! Real Madrid 1-1 Fuenlabrada: And that's surely the goal that will settle things for Real Madrid. Bale played a wonderful outside of the boot cross to Mayoral, who made no mistake in heading home from close range.
70’ GOAL! Real Madrid 2-1 Fuenlabrada: It's the same combination for Real Madrid with Bale seeing his initial shot saved, only for Mayoral to pick up the loose ball and finish low into the opposition net.
89’ GOAL! Real Madrid 2-2 Fuenlabrada: An equaliser for Fuenlabrada! It's too late for them to make a real fightback, but Portilla sticks away a finish at the second attempt after some really slack defensive play from Real Madrid.
Gareth Bale played the assist for Borja Mayoral’s first goal with his very first touch of the match after coming off the bench.
Mayoral has scored three goals in his three starts for Real Madrid this season in all competitions.