Real Madrid battle to beat Malaga in Copa del Rey

    Karim Benzema wheels away after scoring Real Madrid's winner in the Bernabeu.

    Story highlights

    • Real Madrid beat Malaga 3-2 in Copa del Rey last-16 first-leg tie
    • Real come from two goals down at home against Qatari-backed Malaga
    • France forward Karim Benzema scores 78th-minute winner in Bernabeu
    • Levante and Racing Santander lose to lower-league opposition
    Spanish league leaders Real Madrid came from two goals down to score a dramatic 3-2 home win over Malaga in Tuesday's Copa del Rey round of 16 first-leg tie.
    Jose Mourinho's cup holders looked headed for an upset defeat as goals from Sergio Sanchez and Martin de Michelis saw them trailing at the hour mark before a remarkable transformation.
    Germany midfielder Sami Khedira and Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain scored in quick succession to put Real level in the first round of matches since the Spanish winter break.
    The winner came in the 78th minute as Higuain found fellow forward Karim Benzema with a superb pass and the France international made no mistake.
    Real might have added a fourth as Cristiano Ronaldo's spectacular bicycle kick was ruled out for offside in the last kick of a thrilling match at the Bernabeu.
    Malaga have become a force after the riches invested by Qatari Sheikh Abdullah, and a pair of headed goals before the half-hour mark had them dreaming of taking a lead into the second leg.
    But Khedira surged through their defense to pull one back before the ever-sharp Higuain took advantage of a sloppy back-pass to score from an acute angle.
    Benzema's winner after he came close with an earlier volleyed effort left Real favorites to progress to the quarterfinals in next week's return legs.
    However, Levante suffered a 2-1 defeat at second division Alcorcon and La Liga strugglers Racing Santander crashed 2-0 at third-tier Mirandes.
    Athletic Bilbao, seeking a 24th cup title but first since 1984, drew 0-0 at lower league Albacete.
    On Wednesday, last year's finalists Barcelona host Osasuna while Real Sociedad take on Mallorca in another top-flight tie.
    Valencia welcome Sevilla on Thursday, when Espanyol travel to second division Cordoba.