MADRID, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Santiago Solari got off to the perfect start as Real Madrid’s interim coach when his side thrashed Melilla 4-0 in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
In their first match since Julen Lopetegui was sacked after a dire run capped by a 5-1 loss to Barcelona on Sunday which left the European champions ninth in La Liga, Solari’s side dominated their fourth-tier opponents.
Solari saved the likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos the trip to the north coast of Africa and the Spanish enclave of Melilla, but did start with captain Sergio Ramos and striker Karim Benzema in the round of 32 first-leg clash.
Frenchman Benzema, who has struggled for form this season, broke the deadlock from close range after being teed up by Alvaro Odriozola.
Real doubled their lead just before halftime after good work from Vinicius Junior, who found Marco Asensio in the box and the Spaniard fired home.
Brazilian striker Vinicius, largely ignored by Lopetegui, struck the crossbar in search of the third, which was eventually bundled in by Odriozola, another player who struggled to get minutes under Lopetegui.
Substitute Cristo Gonzalez added a fourth in stoppage time to give Solari a convincing debut win.
Cultural Leonesa host champions Barcelona later on Wednesday. The second-leg matches take place between Dec. 4-6. (Editing by Ed Osmond)