Malaga: Holders Real Madrid beat Malaga 1-0 in the Spanish Cup on Tuesday as Karim Benzema took them through to a near certain, mouthwatering quarter-final clash with Barcelona.
Real Madrid already had a one-goal advantage after their 3-2 win in the Bernabeu and in-form French international Benzema sealed their return leg victory with a well-taken 71st minute shot that was badly fumbled by keeper Willy Caballero.
Barring an unthinkable collapse, Barcelona and their three-time Ballon d’Or-winning Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi will move in to the quarter-finals Thursday when they play a return leg in Osasuna with a 4-0 advantage in hand.
That would set up Madrid-Barcelona matches on January 18 and 25, an El Clasico duel pitting two of the world’s best clubs and biggest rivals against each other.
This time, there’s an extra twist to the match-up.
Real Madrid lead Barcelona by five points at the top of the Liga after the Catalans were held to a 1-1 draw by city rivals Espanyol on Sunday.
But Jose Mourinho’s men will still want to wipe out the memory of their humiliating 3-1 league defeat at home by Barcelona on December 10.
Heavily bank-rolled Malaga, who were taken over by billionaire Qatari Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani in 2010, looked dangerous up to the last minute at home in the Roselada.