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Benzema gives Madrid edge

Real Madrid emerged with a slender advantage from a fiery King's Cup clash at holders Sevilla last night when Karim Benzema struck to give them a 1-0 victory in their semi-final first leg.

Sevilla had a goal controversially disallowed in a match littered with yellow cards at a rowdy Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.

As tempers frayed after the final whistle, Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas appeared to be struck on the back of the head by a missile thrown from the crowd, but was not seriously hurt.

Benzema put them ahead in the 17th minute when he exchanged passes with Mesut Ozil, drove into the penalty area and beat two defenders before firing a low shot past goalkeeper Andres Palop.

Sevilla thought they were level moments before half-time when Luis Fabiano rounded Casillas and sent the ball towards the empty net.

Raul Albiol slid in with a last-ditch block, but replays appeared to show the ball had crossed the line before the Spain defender pushed it away with his feet.

Real almost snatched a second with just over 10 minutes left. Ozil broke clear and fed Cristiano Ronaldo, who rounded Palop, but was unable to get in a shot and Ozil's eventual effort was blocked by Alexis Ruano.

Substitute and former Real player Alvaro Negredo volleyed narrowly wide for Sevilla late on but Jose Mourinho's side held on and will be confident of progressing to the final as they bid for a first domestic Spanish cup since 1993.

If they get through, they will almost certainly play Barcelona who coasted to a 5-0 victory at home to Almeria in last night's other semi-final.

Goals from Lionel Messi (9, 16), David Villa (11) and Pedro (31) set up the home team to coast throughout the rest of the game. Seydou Keita rounded off matters with a fifth goal in the last minute.

Irish Independent