A dreadful second-half mistake from the home side's goalkeeper cost Manuel Pellegrini's men the tie, and allowed the holders to progress to the last eight
A solitary effort from Karim Benzema, after a horrible mistake from home custodian Willy Caballero, was enough to earn Real Madrid a 1-0 victory over Malaga at La Rosaleda in the second leg of their Copa del Rey round of 16 clash on Tuesday evening, to move through 4-2 on aggregate.
The Frenchman's 72nd-minute strike slipped through the hands of the goalkeeper, who had been otherwise solid in the contest, and a last-eight clash with Barcelona edges ever closer to reality.
The match began at an intense level as both teams used high lines to furiously press each other. Attempting to work around their opposition's quick tempo, the away side began to play a possession game and slowly took control of the contest.
Running at Jose Mourinho’s back line, Eliseu Pereira had the home fans on their feet when he beat Fabio Coentrao on the dribble, cut inside and unleashed a rocket from 25 yards which just went wide of the post.
Minutes later, Eliseu blew past Alvaro Arbeloa on the left and found Seba Fernandez in the 18-yard box with a perfect cross. The unmarked forward could only header over the bar, missing a glaring opportunity to put his side ahead.
Against the run of play, Madrid earned a great chance to open the scoring when a Cristiano Ronaldo backheel isolated Sami Khedira on the left. The Germany international sent a looping effort towards goal which was batted away by Caballero. However, Khedira injured himself in the move, forcing a substitution that introduced Mesut Ozil into the game.
The first half ended with the two sides exchanging opportunities. Sergio Ramos headed just wide of Caballero's post while Eliseu responded with another screamer which Iker Casillas excellently palmed away.
Minutes later, Los Blancos looked to have opened scoring through Gonzalo Higuain, but the Argentina international was correctly flagged for offside.
After a string of excellent saves, a fatal error by Caballero cost his side the game. On a lightning-quick counterattack, Ozil picked out Benzema on the left. The Frenchman attempted to curl the ball around the keeper but looked to have sent his shot directly into his grasp. However, the glovesman allowed the ball to pass through his legs and slowly roll into the back of the net, much to his agony.
Arbeloa was dismissed in the closing moments for a second bookable offence, but Benzema's goal effectively ended the match as the demoralised Andalusian side had no answer, despite a late flurry that saw Jeremy Toulalan nod wide from close range.
With the win, Madrid progress to the quarter-finals of the competition and will be waiting for Barcelona to progress past Osasuna in order to set up another epic tie between the rivals.