Copa Del Rey round-up
Real Madrid turn tie around
By Adam Bate. Last Updated: January 3, 2012 11:31pm
Jose Mourinho: Made all three of his substitutions at half time
Real Madrid launched a dramatic comeback to beat Malaga 3-2 after falling two goals down in the first leg of their Copa Del Rey clash.
Goals from Sami Khedira, Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema turned the last 16 game on its head in 10 second-half minutes to leave things intriguingly poised ahead of next week's return leg in Malaga.
Former Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini had looked like coming back to haunt his old side at the Bernabeu and certainly proved as good as his word that Malaga would do more than just play for a goalless draw.
Sergio Sanchez put the visitors ahead with a header from a corner and, as if to prove it was no fluke, Martin Demichelis repeated the trick to put Malaga two up inside the first half an hour.
Jose Mourinho took drastic action at half time by making all three of his allotted substitutions - introducing Mesut Ozil as well as the subsequent goalscorers Benzema and Khedira.
Relentless pressure from the home side in the second half was inevitable and it was Khedira who eventually found a way through the Malaga defence before Higuain seized on an error to round the keeper and equalise.
Benzema's neat finish completed the turnaround and there was even time for Cristiano Ronaldo to have a spectacular late effort disallowed for offside with the last kick of the game.
Elsewhere, it was a good night for the lower league clubs as Albacete, Mirandes and Alcorcon all gave a good account of themselves in their home legs against La Liga opposition.
Albacete, now languishing in the third tier for the first time in more than 20 years, followed up their defeat of Atletico Madrid in the previous round by holding a strong Athletic Bilbao side to a goalless draw.
Mirandes fared even better against top flight strugglers Racing Santander, stunning the visitors with a 2-0 win. First half goals from Pablo Infante and Mikel Martins proved enough to win the game and the third tier side will have high hopes of making the quarter-finals.
Alcorcon's 2-1 win over Levante was perhaps even more impressive given their opponent's astonishing start to the La Liga season that sees them flying high in fourth place.
An early Francisco Borja goal gave the hosts belief that they could cause an upset before being pegged back by Miguel Pallardo's first half equaliser.
Alberto Nagore's second half winner made it a special night for Alcorcon, even if Levante will feel confident they can turn this tie around on home soil.