Copa del Rey: Real Madrid and Barcelona struggle past lower league opposition in Cup

In a rematch of last season’s round of 32 clash, Real beat Alcoyano 3-1 thanks to goals from Éder Militão and Marco Asensio, as well as an own goal from Alcoyano’s 42-year-old goalkeeper José Juan.

Last season, Alcoyano stunned Los Blancos with a 2-1 extra time win at the same stage of the competition. Wednesday’s match looked like it was heading the same way after Dani Vega equalized for the host on 66 minutes with a stunning individual goal.

However, it took just 10 minutes for Real to hit back through Asensio’s fortuitous deflected effort, before José Juan’s unfortunate own goal ensured there would be no repeat giant killing.

Despite the win, it will surely be of some concern to head coach Carlo Ancelotti that his side looked second best for much of the match, just days after the Italian said his players “stayed on holiday for an extra day” following the league defeat to lowly Getafe at the weekend.

Elsewhere, Barça had to come from behind to beat Linares Deportivo, as Dani Alves made his first appearance for the Catalan club since leaving in 2016.

READ: Barcelona begins year with 1-0 La Liga victory to edge closer to Champions League places
Dani Alves played his first match for Barcelona in six years.

Head coach Xavi opted to rest several star names, despite his squad already being decimated by injuries and Covid cases, and the Blaugrana found itself behind after just 19 minutes as Hugo Díaz gave Linares a shock lead.

With the team still trailing at half time, Xavi was forced to bring out the big guns as Frenkie de Jong, Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembélé entered the game during the second half.

It was Dembélé who finally found the equalizer for Barça just after the hour mark, squeezing a shot under Linares goalkeeper Brimah Razak, before young La Masía product Ferran Jutglà scored the winner just a few minutes later.

Alves, now 38, was made to wait until January for his second Barcelona debut after initially being signed by the club in November.

The Brazilian full back enjoyed a trophy-laden first spell at the Catalan club between 2008 and 2016, winning six La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies as Pep Guardiola’s side dominated European football.