Benzema's heroics help Real Madrid set Spanish record of 40 games unbeaten

SI.com Staff
Thursday January 12th, 2017

Real Madrid was all but through to the Copa del Rey quarterfinals, but it still had some business to tend to, with an impressive record on the line.

Karim Benzema's goal at the death salvaged a 3-3 draw in the second leg of Real's Copa del Rey last-16 bout vs. Sevilla, extending the capital club's unbeaten streak to 40 games and setting a new Spanish record. In the process, Real Madrid reached the Copa quarters on a 6-3 aggregate, following a 3-0 triumph at the Bernabeu last week.

Playing without Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid was losing 3-1 with 77 minutes gone on Thursday, after Stevan Jovetic, playing on his debut following a loan from Inter Milan, scored and Vicente Iborra followed with an insurance strike.

Regular clutch performer Sergio Ramos started the comeback in the 83rd minute with a Panenka from the penalty spot, setting the stage for Benzema to emerge as the hero with a brilliant individual effort. Real Madrid entered the day tied with Barcelona for the Spanish unbeaten streak record.

A Danilo own goal put Real Madrid in a 1-0 hole 10 minutes in, but Marco Asensio equalized just after halftime with a remarkable run the length of the field as a one-man counterattack following a cleared corner kick.

Real Madrid last lost on April 6, 2016, in a Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Wolfsburg, falling 2-0 before battling back to win the second leg 3-0 and advance en route to a record 11th title.

Los Blancos set their sights on the top unbeaten streak across all of Europe's top leagues. AC Milan (42; 1992-93) and Juventus (43; 2011-12) are the only ones with longer runs than the one Zinedine Zidane's side currently is enjoying.

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