Real Madrid waltz past Cadiz ahead of Chelsea clash

AFP , Saturday 15 Apr 2023

Real Madrid were made to wait, but eventually conjured a stylish 2-0 victory at Cadiz on Saturday in La Liga, ahead of their Champions League trip to face Chelsea.

Real Madrid
Cadiz s goalkeeper David Gil, centre left, makes a save after a shoot by Real Madrid s Federico Valverde, centre, during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Cadiz CF and Real Madrid at the Nuevo Mirandilla stadium in Cadiz, Spain, Saturday, April 15, 2023. Photo: AP

 

Nacho Fernandez and Marco Asensio struck to help champions Madrid cut Barcelona's lead at the top of the table to 10 points, before the Catalans face Getafe on Sunday.

Both sides hit the woodwork in the first half but Madrid overran their opponents, with only Cadiz goalkeeper David Gil keeping them at bay.

Eventually, when it seemed they had tried everything, Nacho broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute with a drive from distance, with Asensio adding another four minutes later.

Ancelotti rang the changes at the Nuevo Mirandilla to rest players for the visit to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday for the quarter-final second leg, including veteran midfielders Toni Kroos and Luka Modric and winger Vinicius Junior.

Rodrygo Goes started on the left of the attack in his Brazil compatriot's stead, and was heavily involved throughout.

Madrid suffered a 3-2 home defeat by Villarreal last weekend before the 2-0 first leg win over Chelsea, and Ancelotti admitted his team were not motivated enough.

On this occasion they arrived with the right mindset and on another day would have ended the first half several goals in front.

Cadiz had the first big chance, with Pacha Espino firing across Thibaut Courtois' goal and hitting the far post.

Gil made his first impressive save soon after, denying Karim Benzema after some lovely interplay with Asensio.

The French striker should have netted his 15th league goal of the season but hit the crossbar after Gil pushed an Asensio effort into his path.

Rodrygo could not beat the Cadiz goalkeeper either, with Gil making a solid stop from his effort and then foiling the winger as he tried to round him early in the second half.

The Brazilian should have opened the scoring before the hour mark when he had the goal gaping in front of him but Gil's full-length dive put him off and he hooked an effort wide.

Madrid were racking up the shots and, finally, their 26th effort of the night went in.

It came from an unlikely source, in veteran defender Nacho, who drove home from the edge of the box into the bottom corner.

With Cadiz's resistance broken, Madrid quickly added another.

Fede Valverde carried the ball forward and fed Asensio, who finished clinically.

It was a satisfying evening for Ancelotti and his team, leaving them in good shape to continue their European adventure, aiming to finish the job in London and reach the semi-finals.

Defeat leaves Cadiz 15th, four points clear of the drop zone.

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