Posted: Tue January 21, 2014 5:30PM; Updated: Tue January 21, 2014 5:30PM

Benzema goal lifts Real Madrid to first-leg cup win over Espanyol

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Karim Benzema, Real Madrid
Real Madrid's goal-scoring hero Karim Benzema, third from right, battles with Espanyol's Sidnei Rechel during Madrid's 1-0 victory in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal matchup.
Manu Fernandez/AP

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - A first-half goal from Karim Benzema guided Real Madrid to a 1-0 win at Espanyol in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal on Tuesday.

Nine days after Madrid eked out a 1-0 victory at Espanyol's Cornella-El Prat Stadium in the Spanish league, the visitors were again limited to the narrowest of winning margins - despite dominating the first half, when Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post before Benzema headed home in the 25th minute.

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The second half was more evenly matched and Espanyol's Sergio Garcia came close to an equalizer before Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas denied Jhon Cordoba in a one-on-one in the 83rd minute.

The second leg will be played next Tuesday.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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