MADRID: Real Madrid set a Spanish record of 40 matches unbeaten in all competitions after they came back from two goals behind to snatch a 3-3 draw at Sevilla with a last-gasp equaliser from Karim Benzema in the King’s Cup on Thursday.
Real trailed 3-1 in the 77th minute of their last-16 second leg tie but captain Sergio Ramos reduced the arrears from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute after Matias Kranevitter had pulled down Casemiro in the area.
With seconds remaining, Marcelo fed Benzema in the area and the Frenchman struck a right-footed shot past Sevilla goalkeeper David Soria as Real progressed to the quarter-finals with a 6-3 aggregate win.
“Sevilla played a great game and it proved very difficult for us,” Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane told reporters. “We suffered a lot. But we have character and that is good.
“Perhaps Sevilla deserved to win on the night but in terms of the tie, we deserved to go through.”
Sevilla took the lead when Danilo headed a cross from Pablo Sarabia into his own net in the 10th minute, but Marco Asensio equalised with a low near-post shot following a terrific run from midfield three minutes after the re-start.
Stevan Jovetic, who joined Sevilla on loan from Inter Milan this week, volleyed home right-footed eight minutes after coming on to put the hosts in front in the 54th minute before Vicente Iborra pounced on a loose ball to add a third.
Real looked to be heading for their first defeat since they lost to VfL Wolfsburg last April, but Ramos clawed his team back into the contest with a Panenka-style dinked penalty into the middle of the goal before substitute Benzema completed the comeback.
Real had equalled arch-rivals Barcelona’s long unbeaten run with a 5-0 rout of Granada on Saturday.
“We weren’t thinking about the record,” Real Madrid left-back Marcelo said. “We take it one game at a time.
“The important thing is that we reacted, we played a great game and we are going to continue to fight like we did tonight.”
Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli handed Clement Lenglet his debut following his move from Nancy last week and the French defender saw his close-range header kept out by goalkeeper Kiko Casilla minutes before Benzema’s equaliser.
Real, four points clear of Sevilla at the top of La Liga, face them again at the same venue on Sunday.
“We expect an even more difficult game on Sunday,” Zidane said. “Sevilla are a very good side. They are doing very well and it’s not by chance that they are second in the table.”