Real Madrid thump Murcia to avoid Cup upset

Madrid: Real Madrid avoided a repeat of last season`s King`s Cup exit to lowly opponents when they crushed third-tier Murcia 5-1 on Wednesday to advance by the same score on aggregate.

The La Liga giants went out of the competition at the same last-32 stage in 2009 after a humiliating 4-1 defeat over two legs by Alcorcon, who were then in the Segunda B division, the third tier of Spanish soccer.

Murcia also play in Segunda B and held the La Liga giants to a 0-0 draw in the first leg two weeks ago, setting up another potential upset.

Real coach Jose Mourinho, who was sent to the stands for protesting in the first half, opted for a largely second-string starting 11 and was rewarded with a goal in the fourth minute when midfielder Esteban Granero curled in a superb first-time shot from just outside the penalty area.

Real dominated possession but failed to extend their lead until just before halftime when Gonzalo Higuain squeezed a shot past Murcia goalkeeper Dani.

Substitute Cristiano Ronaldo continued his rich vein of scoring form in the 75th minute when he popped up at the far post to tap home an excellent cross from Angel Di Maria.

In an eventful last 10 minutes, Real defender Alvaro Arbeloa picked up a second yellow card and was sent off, Xabi Alonso conceded a penalty converted by Murcia`s Pedro, Karim Benzema netted a penalty for Real and Alonso scored from a deflected free kick.

Barcelona, the 2009 winners, have a 2-0 advantage over third-tier Ceuta for their second leg at the Nou Camp later on Wednesday (2100 GMT).

Bureau Report