Copa Del Rey
Santiago Solari started in earnest his temporary stay in charge of Real Madrid with a comfortable
4-0 Copa Del Rey last-32, first-leg victory over UD Melilla.
Solari was appointed to replace Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked on Monday after only 14 games
Karim Benzema, Alvaro Odriozola, Cristo Gonzalez and Marco Asensio were on the score
sheet for the Madrid.
Melilla is a tiny Spanish enclave of about 4.7 square miles on the north coast of Morocco.
It has a population of 86,000, with the game taking place at a packed Alvarez Claro Stadium which
has a capacity of 10,000.
The second leg of the Copa Del Rey fixture will be 460 miles away at Real’s Santiago Bernabeu on 5 December.
Former Argentina international Solari “provisionally” stepped up from Real’s Castilla B team.
Notwithstanding that Spanish regulations state an interim coach can be at the helm for a fortnight –
but must be appointed officially after 15 days, or not at all.
During that period, the 52-year-old has games against Valladolid who sits sixth in La Liga table.
On Saturday, Group G’s bottom side Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on 7 November, and
mid-table Celta Vigo the following Sunday.
Real Madrid poor form
Real Madrid have earned 14 out of a possible 30 league points this season and have taken only one from their past five matches.
This indeed is their worst run since they were pointless in the final five games of 2008-09 under Juande Ramos.
After a disappointing start to a season in which they have lost four of their first 10 La Liga games
and dropped to ninth in the table, Real Madrid sacked Julen Lopetegui.
The man replacing Lopetegui is something of a surprise, especially to outsiders.
Santiago Solari is a relatively unknown figure even in Spain.
However, Real’s announcement of Solari’s appointment made it clear he is only a temporary
measure, and there is a widespread assumption that a better-known figure will be recruited before long.