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Copa del Rey

Real Madrid show incredible spirit in a Copa classic at Sevilla to break Barca's record

02:21 GMT+3 13/01/2017
Marco Asensio Sevilla Real Madrid Copa del Rey
Karim Benzema's late leveller means Los Blancos have not been beaten in 40 matches in all competitions and the two teams now meet again on Sunday


The spirit of this team is truly remarkable. Real Madrid looked like suffering their first defeat since early April when they went 3-1 down at Sevilla on Thursday, but somehow they found a way back - even when the game itself did not really matter much.

Madrid break Barca's record with 40th game unbeaten

Madrid had won the first leg 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu last week and coach Zinedine Zidane rested players - Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric among them - for this second-leg game at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

Despite the deficit, Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli said his side would try to make it into the last eight of the Copa del Rey and he was true to his word as his side pushed Madrid back impressively in the first half.

However, it was a high-risk strategy and even though the Andalusians took the lead thanks to an own-goal from the hapless Danilo, a wonderful solo run from Marco Asensio levelled the scores early in the second half.

Still Sevilla pressed, though, and recent signing Stevan Jovetic volleyed home for 2-1 shortly afterwards. When Vicente Iborra made it 3-1 with 13 minutes left, it looked like Madrid's unbeaten streak was coming to an end.

Benzema leaves it late as Madrid advance in Copa

But this Real team has shown time and time again that they are not to be written off. Zidane's side have scored a number of late goals this term, notably in the Clasico away to Barcelona, against Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup and also at home to Sporting in the Champions League.

So it was not really a surprise when they did it again. From a Sevilla point of view, however, it could have been avoided after a clumsy challenge by Matias Kranevitter on Casemiro gave Madrid a penalty. Sergio Ramos netted with an outrageous Panenka effort.

With time ticking away, Madrid poured forward again. This time substitute Karim Benzema was the hero with some sublime skill and a fine finish to earn a draw which meant little in the context of this tie but saw Los Blancos make it 40 without defeat and head into Sunday's league game at the same stadium with extra confidence.

So how do Madrid keep doing it? Some say luck, but there is much more to it than that. Since Zidane took over from Rafa Benitez last January, he has lost only twice. And that cannot be good fortune alone.

Zidane not thinking about the treble

So Madrid march on. Having bettered Barca's 39-match unbeaten run in La Liga, Los Blancos now return to face this superb Sevilla side again on Sunday - this time with points up for grabs. And the result in that match will be even more important than this one.

"We suffered a lot today," Zidane said afterwards. "They do everything at pace with the players they have and the fans push as well. There is a reason they are second in the table. Let's see what the game on Sunday is like, but I'm sure we will suffer again."

Quite probably, but Zidane's men keep coming through these tough tests and even in a match when a defeat would have mattered little, they managed to extend their unbeaten run. That spirit is incredible and after such an entertaining encounter on Thursday, football fans are in for another treat when these two teams meet again in the Primera Division at the weekend.