- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2015

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Real Madrid risks being disqualified from the Copa del Rey after fielding an ineligible player on Wednesday in a 3-1 victory over Cadiz, its opening match in the competition.

On a night when Barcelona advanced with an easy 6-1 win against third-tier Villanovense in a first round, second leg match, Madrid and its coach Rafa Benitez were heading for trouble from Spain’s soccer federation after fielding Denis Cheryshev in a first-leg game.

Cheryshev rose through Madrid’s youth ranks after joining the club in 2002, but he played on loan for Villarreal last season and picked up a one-match ban after collecting three yellow cards in the Copa. Having since left Villarreal and returned to Madrid, the suspension should have been active on Wednesday.

Instead, Cheryshev took the field and went on to score Madrid’s opening goal.

Federation rules specify that if a club fields an ineligible player, it faces disqualification from the competition - provided the opposing club lodges an objection.

Cadiz president Manolo Vizcaino said after the match that his club would indeed lodge a complaint, albeit “with pain in our hearts, because Madrid is a friend.”

Benitez said Madrid was not aware that Cheryshev was ineligible for Wednesday’s match. “The moment we discovered this could be the situation, we substituted him at halftime,” Benitez said.

Madrid director Emilio Butragueno said he had spoken to the federation and was told that a competition judge would have the final decision on the club’s fate. Spanish media reported that the decision would be made Friday.

“All I can say is that we were not aware of the situation,” Butragueno said. “We had not received notification from the federation about the sanction, neither did we hear about it from Villarreal.”

Cheryshev scored Madrid’s opener from a perfectly-timed long cross by James Rodriguez in the third minute.

Carlos Casimiro made a long pass forward which Francisco “Isco” Alarcon chested down and slotted in past the goalkeeper in the 66th and scored again in the 74th.

Kike Marquez pulled one back for Cadiz in the 88th.

The second leg is due to be played in Madrid on Dec. 16.

In an earlier match, a hat trick and an assist by Sandro Ramirez helped Barcelona to its comfortable victory over Villanovense.

After the first leg finished in a 0-0 draw, Dani Alves put Barcelona ahead after four minutes with a long shot that goalkeeper Jose Fuentes only got his fingertips to.

Fuentes then cleared the ball straight to Ramirez who fired it back over the ‘keeper’s head in the 21st.

Villanovense pulled one back with a shot by Juanfran Guarnido eight minutes later.

Ramirez scored again in the 31st and Munir El Haddadi headed in Jeremy Mathieu’s cross in the 51st. Ramirez got his third in the 69th and delivered a perfect back-pass for El Haddadi to score again in the 76th.

In other matches, Valencia drew 1-1 at Barakaldo, Sevilla beat Logrones 2-0, Celta bested Almeria 2-1, Llagostera defeated Deportivo La Coruna 1-0, Betis beat Sporting 2-0 and Rayo Vallecano beat Getafe 2-0.



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