Gareth Bale made a welcome return from injury to spare Real Madrid embarrassment in their Copa del Rey clash with Segunda B leaders Fuenlabrada.
Zinedine Zidane’s young side struggled desperately and faced the very real danger of seeing their 2-0 first leg lead wiped out before Bale’s 62nd-minute introduction changed the course of the game.
Bale set up two goals for Borja Mayoral but it was still not enough to serve up a win on the night as the visitors hit back for a deserved 2-2 draw at a sparsely populated Bernabeu.
In a stunning start, Fuenlabrada laid siege to the Real goal with home keeper Keylor Navas – by far the most experienced player in the starting line-up – saving well to deny Alvaro Bravo.
Hugo Fraile also hit a fine chance over the bar before Luis Milla lashed a 25th-minute rocket in off the underside of the bar to give the visitors a remarkable lead.
Zidane’s men rallied with chances for Marcos Llorente and Francisco Feuillasier but it took 41 minutes to test visiting keeper Pol Freixenet, who saved well from Mateo Kovacic.
Fuenlabrada went in ahead at the interval and came agonisingly close to levelling the aggregate scoreline early in the second half when defender Daniel Diaz struck a header against the bar.
Having missed the last 11 games due to injury, Bale made his return in place of Feuillasier just past the hour mark and within a minute had set up his side’s equaliser on the night.
Bale produced a pinpoint cross to find Mayoral who headed home – and three minutes later Bale’s shot deflected off the legs of Freixenet to Mayoral, who scored his second.
If the goals ended the tie as a contest, they did not sap the will of Real’s third-tier opponents who secured a richly deserved draw on the night when Alvaro Portilla fired home at the second attempt one minute from time.
Source: By PA Sport staff