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Villarreal Juvenil A draws against Madrid at Valdebebas during first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal

María Jose Segovia

The Juvenil A squad of Villarreal earned a valuable draw at Valdebas, training ground of Real Madrid, during the first leg of the semifinals of the Copa del Rey.

Fran Álvarez gave Villarreal the lead in the second half, Madrid equalized 15 minutes after. Fran's goal puts Villarreal in a comfortable position for the second leg at the Mini Estadi next week knowing that Madrid will be obliged to score to keep their hopes alive. Villarreal GK's Diego had a tremendous performance making several important saves.

Javi Calleja's team left a good impression as usual, playing head to head against Madrid, controlling the match at times, and enjoying plenty of chances even after Fran Álvarez opened the scoring.

The match commenced evenly as both teams were studying each other in the early minutes of the game. Villarreal's Danni Villa had a chance on the break away but his hot went wide. Madrid responded rapidly with a free kick by Oscar that went wide. In the 28th minute, Darío made a terrific solo effort but Luca Zidane deflected it. Madrid reacted with two clear chances but a provident Diego was there to save his team.

As both teams ventured in the second half, it was Villarreal who scored the opening. Darío was dribbling inside the box, he attempted a shot that was block, and Fran was there to take the rebound and make it past Madrid's GK Luca.

Darío Poveda had an exceptional chance to increase Villarreal's lead, but his effort was poorly executed and Luca was able to contain it. Madrid responded pushing by all means possible for an equalizer, but Diego figure was remarkable and his impressive saves denied Madrid the equalizer until the 64th after a header from Oscar was able to beat the Villarreal keeper. Madrid efforts continued but Villarreal was tidy in defense and so, the final blow whistled.

The Juvenil A will be expectantly waiting for the second leg at the Mini Stadi knowing that they have earned a valuable advantage to face Madrid.

US national youth Mukwelle Akale started for the Mini Submarine, and Zizou's son, Luca, started for Los Blancos in goal.