Gareth Bale returned in style to settle a game that Fuenla briefly threatened to win after Luis Milla opened the scoring and veteran chopper Cata Diaz rattled the bar on the hour mark. Borja Mayoral bagged a brace to spare Madrid's blushes in an eventual 2-2 draw, with Alvaro Portillo on target for the visitors late on.
Bale made an immediate impact and turned the game favourably for Madrid after Zinedine Zidane's side were roundly booed off at half-time. Mateo Kovacic made a confident return with several driving runs, which Real will need in upcoming games, with the midfield a little stale in recent fixtures. Mayoral gave the Madrid boss a timely reminder that there are goals beyond the BBC.
"I am not saying the players who came are not [great players], but they are younger. It is their first year in the team. It is not an excuse." Cristiano Ronaldo might have raised an eyebrow watching from home as "Real B" were given the runaround by third-tier opposition. When Hugo Fraile is doing Zidane ruletas in midfield and only the crossbar prevented Diaz from levelling the tie, questions are there to be raised.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Let's not pretend that the Copa is anything but a sideshow: thanks to the FEF's ridiculous format the domestic cup competition has become a poor relative of the Club World Cup for Madrid, so Zidane had to field the kids for this one. But that should not be an excuse for a poor showing. Take Bale out of the equation and Real Madrid B look deficient in several areas. That is on the coach and his summer business.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Keylor Navas, 5 -- An early save against Matheus Aias preceded a terrible effort to prevent Milla's goal. A good save from the same player at the near post was followed by a good initial stop on Portillo, but Navas couldn't do much about the follow-up.
DF Achraf Hakimi, 5 -- A heavy touch on 29 minutes epitomised a wasteful half. Achraf was sluggish and is struggling to replicate his early season form.
DF Alvaro Tejero, 5 -- The eternal bridesmaid did little to further his case for a first-team role and was given a torrid time by Matheus. He tested Pol Freixanet on a foray forward, but a promotion from the reserves looks a long way off for Tejero.
DF Nacho, 6 -- Serio, as the Spanish goes. Captain on the night, Nacho did little wrong but was bullied off the ball by Diaz in what could have broken the 2-2 tie.
DF Theo Hernandez, 4 -- An anonymous first half was compounded by a dreadful control on 52 minutes, which led directly to a foul born of frustration on Yaw Annor minutes later. Marcelo has little to interrupt his sleep for now.
MF Marcos Llorente, 6 -- Might have hit the target with a shot over the bar on 40 minutes but was neat and tidy in possession and did his chances for a greater first-team role little harm.
MF Dani Ceballos, 6 -- Should have done better with a clear chance before the break and a little loose in possession early on, but Ceballos grew into the game and was one of Real's better performers in the second period.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 6 -- Added some much-needed class to the midfield and showed flashes of the drive that led Zidane to start him before his injury. The "new signing" cliché is well-worn, but Kovacic is back exactly when his boss needs him.
FW Oscar Rodriguez, 5 -- A decent run in the first half masked a tentative performance from the canterano, who has "loan to Getafe" written all over him.
FW Franchu, 6 -- Of all the canteranos, he's the most likely to make the cut. A decent effort on 27 was followed by a deflected shot on 41 that had Pol at full stretch. Always willing to run at defenders, Franchu should earn a crack at a Liga game this season.
FW Borja Mayoral, 8 -- In the shop window for a January sale, Borja did his case no harm, bagging both of Real's goals courtesy of Bale. In the wilderness until Tuesday, this was a signal to Zidane to reconsider his position.
FW Gareth Bale, 8 -- On for Franchu, Bale made an immediate impact with a glorious outside-of-the-boot assist for Mayoral, then forced the second with a flick over the defence. Zidane said recently that he missed the Welshman. It's not hard to see why.
FW Luismi Quezada, NR -- On for Oscar, showed a few nice touches.
MF Jaime Seoane, NR -- On for Kovacic, had a pop from distance but will be remembered more for being robbed in midfield to pave the way for Fuenla's late equaliser.