Real Madrid could be facing a severe punishment after fielding an apparently suspended Denis Cheryshev in a 3-1 win over Cadiz in their Copa del Rey fourth-round first leg.
Madrid’s status in the competition could be under threat after under-fire coach Rafael Benitez – who claimed he was completely unaware of Cheryshev’s reported ineligibility – started the Russian, despite him being due to serve a ban for receiving three bookings in last season’s competition for Villarreal.
“The club had no idea,” Benitez told reporters after the game. “The Federation did not let us know and as soon as we found out we substituted him. Villarreal and the Federation did not reveal this.
“That is why he took him off straight way, we found out at half time when we were informed.
“We acted in good faith, as soon as we found out we took him off.”
It was Cheryshev who opened the scoring early in the match, before he was replaced almost immediately after half-time as confusion reigned over whether he was allowed to play, while Cadiz president Manuel Vizcaino confirmed that the Segunda Division B club will report Madrid to the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) over their selection of Cheryshev.
Meanwhile, rivals Barcelona thrashed Segunda B strugglers Villanovense 6-1 in the Copa del Rey last 32 after youngsters Munir and Sandro Ramirez combined to score five goals.
Barca coach Luis Enrique selected several fringe players for the Camp Nou clash on Wednesday but his side were rarely tested.