Real Madrid face Copa del Rey expulsion for fielding ineligible player

• Denis Cheryshev was banned but scored against Cadiz
• Midfielder was substituted at half-time by Rafa Benítez

Real Madrid could face disqualification from the Copa del Rey after appearing to field an ineligible player in their 3-1 fourth-round victory over Cadiz on Wednesday night.

Denis Cheryshev had given Rafael Benítez’s side the lead at the Ramón de Carranza but the Russia international had a one-game ban hanging over his head.

The 24-year-old had picked up three yellow cards during the competition with former club Villarreal last season and this was the first opportunity the winger had to serve the accompanying ban.

But, with Benítez making a host of changes, Cheryshev’s ban was overlooked as he started against the third-tier side.

The RFEF communique from March 6 confirming that Denis Cheryshev (Villarreal) has a 1 match #CopaDelRey sanction pic.twitter.com/zQrLVAIUB2

— AS English (@English_AS) December 2, 2015

Cheryshev, who scored after three minutes against Cadiz, was taken off just after half-time by Benítez after the Cadiz fans had spent much of the first half chanting “Benítez, look at your Twitter,” and “Cheryshev can’t play”.

😂😂😂😭😭😭😂😂😂

— Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) December 2, 2015

“We had no idea that Cheryshev was ineligible to play,” said the manager after the game. “No one informed us of this situation. As soon as we were aware we took him off.”

A double from Isco secured victory for the 19-times Copa del Rey winners, with Kike Márquez scoring a late reply for the hosts.

Cadiz would have to report the situation to the Spanish Football Federation on Thursday and the club’s Twitter feed, Cadiz-CF, said during the game: “The Board of Directors of Cadiz-CF will meet at the end of the match.”

Last season Osasuna were kicked out of the tournament for playing an ineligible player as Unai García was selected in the win over Mirandes despite being sent off the previous year.

Benítez was manager of Valencia when they were disqualified from the Copa del Rey having played too many non-EU players during a tie against Novelda in 2001.

Benítez saw his side take the lead in the third minute on Wednesday as Cheryshev arrowed home a left-footed drive after a smart pass from James Rodríguez.

Lolo Pla and Wilson Cuero came close to equalisers for the third-tier team as they looked to hit back quickly.

Cheryshev then passed up the chance to add a second with Rodríguez unable to turn home Alvaro Arbeloa’s pass as Madrid went in one ahead at the interval.

Mateo Kovacic then came on for Cheryshev just after the start of the second-half but the inclusion of the player in the starting line-up could result in Real’s expulsion from the competition.

Madrid made sure of victory on the night as Isco struck twice, grabbing his first with a well-taken effort on 65 minutes and putting the visitors further ahead nine minutes later after more smart work from Rodríguez.

The substitute Márquez reduced the arrears with two minutes remaining but it remains unclear who will advance into the fifth round.

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Guardian sport and agencies

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