La Liga champions Real Madrid will be looking to keep the momentum going when they take on neighbours Leganes at Butarque on Wednesday.
21 February 2018
Kick-off: 19H45 (GMT+2)
Referee: J. Gonzalez
Assistants: R. Becerril, A. Villate
Fourth official: F. Roman
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Leganes 4 1 0 1
Real Madrid 4 3 0 3
Real Madrid 1-2 Leganes 24/01/2018 (Copa del Rey)
Real Madrid goalscorers: K. Benzema (47′)
Leganes goalscorers: Eraso (31′), Gabriel (55′)
Players to watch:
The dangerman for Los Pepineros is Gabriel, who has scored five goals from midfield this season and was on target in their famous Copa del Rey victory against Real.
Cristiano Ronaldo has finally found his scoring boots with 10 goals in his last six games across all competitions. But the name on Real fans’ lips is Marco Asensio, who has impressed when called upon and bagged a brace in the 5-3 win over Real Betis on Sunday. The Spaniard has registered six goals and four assists in 20 La Liga outings.
Team form and manager quotes:
Los Pepineros continue to defy expectations under Asier Garitano, who guided the club to their first-ever Copa del Rey semi-final appearance last month by knocking out Real in the last-eight.
Garitano won a historic promotion with Leganes in 2016 and led them to safety in their top-flight debut. They have recorded eight league wins this term – the same number achieved for the whole of last season.
However, Garitano’s side are winless in their last three matches having drawn with local rivals Getafe (0-0), before suffering back-to-back defeats against Eibar (1-0) and Girona (2-0).
Los Blancos, meanwhile, have struggled domestically in 2017/18 as they sit 17 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona in fourth place, while crashing out of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals at the hands of Leganes.
But Zinedine Zidane’s troops are unbeaten in all competitions since the cup exit and recorded high-scoring wins over Real Sociedad (5-2) and Real Betis (5-3) most recently in the league.
Zidane is keen to maintain that good run of form in midweek and insists he has not given up hope of finishing in the runners-up spot.
“We’re playing well at the minute, we’re showing what we can do and we want to continue with our good run. It’s what we try to prepare for every week,” the Frenchman said in his pre-match press conference.
“We’ve got another match tomorrow and we want to have the same concentration and intensity to carry on with what we’re doing. We’re totally focused on tomorrow because there are three points at stake against Leganes.
“The message is always the same, but there are many factors that come into play. We know that everything is important to us. The Champions League and La Liga, because it’s very important to finish as high as possible.
“We want to have continuity and we’re doing much better lately. The second half against Betis was phenomenal. It’s what will guide us to achieve good things this year. We have another game tomorrow and hopefully we can win again.”
The hosts remain without long-term injury victim Alexander Szymanowski, while Darko Brasanac is facing a late fitness test on a shoulder problem.
Marcelo limped off against Betis at the weekend to put him in doubt for Wednesday’s clash, while Jesus Vallejo, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are all unavailable through injury.