Benzema Scored a Brace Against Girona to Fire Real Madrid to Copa Semi-final
Karim Benzema struck a brace as Real Madrid booked their place in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey with a 3-1 second-leg win over Girona.
Already holding a 4-2 aggregate lead over Girona from the opening leg at the Bernabeu, Santiago Solari’s side showed no signs of complacency in the return offering, with Benzema virtually killing off the tie after 27 minutes.
The France international was then on target again shortly before the interval.
Pedro Porro pulled one back for the hosts, but Marcos Llorente completed a 3-1 win, and a dominant 7-3 aggregate victory for the visitors.
Madrid join Barcelona, Valencia and Real Betis in the hat for Friday’s draw.
It is the first time they have reached the last-four since they beat Barcelona at the Mestalla in 2014 to win the trophy.
Madrid headed into the match on an impressive run of three victories in as many matches, and despite their first-leg advantage, manager Solari named virtually his strongest side.
That meant no space in the starting 11 for Gareth Bale, who had to make do with a spot on the substitutes’ bench.
Girona have not won in nearly two months, a winless streak now extended to 11 matches following their home defeat.
Eusebio Sacristan’s outfit were bidding to reach the last four for the first time in the club’s history, but their already slim hopes were dealt a severe blow when Benzema netted in the opening half.
Cutting in from the right, Benzema ghosted into the Girona penalty box before curling a left-footed effort past Gorka Iraizoz.
Benzema was then on target again two minutes before half-time. Vinicius Junior laid it on to the forward who this time scored with his right for his fifth goal in three matches – and 17th of the campaign.
Bale was introduced after 67 minutes for his first appearance in the competition this term, just before Porro scored his first goal for Girona to reduce the deficit on the night to just one.
But it would have little effect on the outcome of the tie, after Llorente’s fine strike from just outside the area with 15 minutes remaining completed the aggregate rout.