Controversy and confusion reigned as Real Madrid claimed a 3-1 victory in the first leg of their Copa del Rey round-of-32 tie with Cadiz at the Estadio Ramon de Carranza on Wednesday.
Per AS, Los Blancos' first goalscorer, Denis Cheryshev, was not eligible to be playing after accumulating too many yellow cards in the competition while on loan at Villarreal last season:
The Spanish giants could now face disqualification from the tournament, per Spanish football writer Dermot Corrigan.
Cheryshev's opening goal came after just three minutes as he latched on to a wonderful ball from James Rodriguez.
Isco's second-half double and Kike Marquez's late strike were then something of a sideshow as, with confusion rife, Real were able to secure a comfortable win.
They will take a 3-1 lead into the second leg at the Bernabeu—assuming they are still in the competition.
Los Blancos manager Rafael Benitez made a number of changes to his starting XI for Wednesday's clash, per Real's Twitter feed:
Cadiz provided their starting lineup ahead of kick-off:
James set up the opener for the visitors with a wonderful sweeping ball from right to left that Cheryshev controlled with one touch before sweeping home left-footed.
The third-tier hosts did not look overly fazed by going down so early and looked comfortable in possession and competent in attack.
Salva Sanchez's whipped cross almost caused some trouble after 20 minutes, as Marcos Llorente failed to make a decent clearance, but Kiko Casilla eventually snaffled the ball.
Real dominated possession for much of the first half but were unable to carve out another decent chance before the break.
When the players returned, the Cheryshev controversy threatened to take over the match, and Benitez withdrew the Russian seconds into the second half, per Bleacher Report UK:
Isco brought some on-field excitement when he netted Real's second in the 65th minute, the Spaniard lifting the ball into the net after latching on to Casemiro's lovely pass.
He then added his second eight minutes later, with James once again the provider as he split the defence to send Isco through on goal.
Marquez stabbed a finish home for the hosts two minutes from time to see a bizarre game finish 3-1 to the visitors.
In normal circumstances, Real would now be heavy favourites to book themselves into the last 16 after the second leg, but there is no guarantee they will remain in the competition.
Per Corrigan, Benitez unsurprisingly revealed after the clash that Real had no idea about Cheryshev's ineligibility:
Clearly, [the] club did not know anything, federation had not said anything, nor Villarreal, so we thought we could field him.
After finding out at [half-time], we substituted [Cheryshev] immediately to show good faith. I've already answered that question. We've done everything already we can. We played a very good game tonight.