MADRID (AFP) - Real Madrid took a big step towards the Spanish Cup semi-finals on Tuesday as they beat Valencia 2-0 in their quarter-final first leg clash at the Bernabeu.
Goals by Karim Benzema and an own goal by Mexican defender Andres Guardado gave the hosts a much-needed boost and kept alive their hopes of some domestic silverware this season as in the league they are third and trail bitter rivals Barcelona by 18 points.
However, it was far from an assured performance by Jose Mourinho's side and but for some poor Valencia finishing they could have been travelling to Valencia for the second leg on level terms.
Benzema, though, steadied their nerves eight minutes before half-time as the France international striker showed some kind of return to form as he slotted home after being set up by Sami Khedira in a move started by Michael Essien.
The hosts second came in the 73rd minute from a counter attack just after Valencia's Brazilian striker Jonas had missed a terrific opportunity to equalise.
Guardado put the ball into his own net from Fabio Coentrao's centre and the damage could have been greater for the visitors had not Vicente Guaita made two point blank saves from Cristiano Ronaldo in a matter of minutes.