Boasting a healthy lead from the first leg, this encounter should be little more than routine for the European champions

Thursday, 6th December 2018 07:52:00 PM

Real Madrid have the formality of their Copa del Rey round of 32 second-leg encounter against Melilla to negotiate on Wednesday at the Bernabeu.

Santi Solari, however, will be eager that Los Blancos continue a strong run of form that has seen him win six of his first seven matches in charge.

Questions will be asked if they do not beat their third-tier opponents once more.

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However, Santi Solari has deployed a number of top stars in this encounter, with the likes of Isco, Marco Asensio and Vinicius Junior all named in the starting XI.

Nacho is out with a knee problem, while Casemiro continues to nurse an ankle issue. No risks are taken with Marcelo.

Castilla players Javi Sanchez, Fidalgo and Fran Garcia have all been called up to the senior squad.

Real Madrid starting XI: Navas; Carvajal, Vallejo, Sanchez, Odriozola; Valverde, Llorente, Asensio; Isco, Mariano, Vinicius.

Subs: Casilla, Varane, Vazquez, Ceballos, Cristo, Fidalgo, Fran Garcia.

Top scorer Yacine Qasmi leads the line.

Melilla starting XI: P. Luis; Romero, Mahanan, Richi, Jilmar; Ortega, Menudo; Ruano, Oscar Garcial; Mizzian, Yacine.

Subs: Chakla, Barrio, Otegui, Garrido, Martin, Braim, Martinez.

Santi Solari’s adventure in the Real Madrid dugout started in Melilla on October 31 and since securing a 4-0 victory in the North African enclave has passed off rather smoothly.

A 3-0 hiccup against Eibar aside, Los Blancos have rediscovered their winning ways, will qualify in the Champions League with no problems and are only five points behind leaders Barcelona in La Liga.

Constitution Day in Spain means that there will be an early kick-off for this fixture and Solari is hoping to give the home fans something to cheer.

“This Thursday is a holiday and lots of people will come along to the match, we want to see several different players on the pitch,” he said.

Isco is certainly set to be celebrating, with the attacker touted to be given a first chance to impress his new coach from the beginning of a game.

“Im not on social media and didnt see Iscos photo,” he said.

“Players need to give the best of themselves to be available and to then do the best possible. Then there are choices and different periods of form, all of this exists.

"The job of the coach is to try to pick well and avoid mistakes.

“There are players in football who play well and who do so constantly, which is why they start for 10 or 12 years, but nobody has played forever because they are called X.”

Against opponents who lead their Segunda B group, he and the rest of Real Madrid’s galaxy of stars will be expected to shine.

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