Real Madrid, Barça reach final 16 of Copa del Rey

Sports Desk, Jan 5 (EFE).- Holders FC Barcelona and current LaLiga leaders Real Madrid got past a pair of third-division sides Wednesday to qualify for the Copa del Rey round of 16.

Away to Linares Deportivo, Barça went behind in the 19th minute as Hugo Diaz beat backup goalkeeper Neto with a low header.

With 82 percent possession, the visitors created multiple chances to equalize, but still trailed at the break and coach Xavi Hernandez started the second half with a triple change that included replacing Ilias Akhomach with Ousmane Dembele, who finally brought Barcelona level in the 63rd minute.

Ferran Jutgla put the Blaugrana ahead six minutes later and Dembele hit the cross-bar on an opportunity to extend the lead.

For Real Madrid, Wednesday meant a return engagement with the team that knocked them out of the tournament a year ago, Alcoyano.

As was the case last year, Eder Militao opened the scoring for the Blancos, heading in from the near post in the 39th minute, and the advantage held up until the 66th minute, when Daniel Vega Cintas equalized for Alcoyano.

Real Madrid reclaimed the lead eight minutes later thanks to Marco Asensio, assisted by Eden Hazard. Isco Alarcon sent the ball net-ward seconds after coming on in the 78th minute, but the Alcoyano keeper was charged with an own goal because his was the last touch. EFE jjl/dr

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