Real Madrid kicked off their 2017 calendar year with a sound 3-0 victory over Andalusian club Sevilla in the first leg of the Copa del Rey round of 16. James Rodriguez scored 2 goals in the first half in one of his rare starts, while Raphael Varane scored the second of Real’s three with a header in the 29th minute. This game also marked Zidane’s anniversary as Real’s main man on the touchline.
The result gives Zidane the chance to field a more experimental lineup in their second leg clash, scheduled a week from now at the Ramon Sanchez Pizquan. Here are 5 talking points from the game:
#1 James Rodriguez stars in rare start
Real manager Zidane chose to rotate Real’s rather injury-ravaged squad for this game, as he rested Cristiano Ronaldo and replaced the injured Gareth Bale with the Colombian playmaker. As has been the case throughout his time at the club, James did not disappoint on this occasion either, making use of his game time to stamp his authority as the best player in the game.
His first goal was a thing of beauty, while also showcasing his tactical nous as he converted a loose ball opportunity from way outside the penalty areas in the 11th minute. James continued to exert his influence on Real’s buildup play throughout the game and also scored the hosts’ third goal in the 44th minute with a penalty.