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Sports

Solari power: New Real Madrid boss sparks victory

media Santiago Solari won his first game in charge of Real Madrid's first XI. REUTERS/Susana Vera

Santiago Solari's reign as interim Real Madrid coach got off to a winning start on Wednesday night as his side eased past third division Melilla 4-0 in the first leg in the last 32 of the Copa del Rey. Karim Benzema opened the scoring after 28 minutes and Marco Asensio doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time.

Alvaro Odriozola and Cristo Gonzalez added the gloss in the closing stages.

Solari, the boss of Real's Castilla B team, was handed the reins of the A team on Monday following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui.

The 52-year-old Spaniard was appointed in July but his tenure came under scrutiny following three losses and two draws in Madrid’s first nine La Liga games.

A 5-1 mauling at arch rivals Barcelona on 28 October sealed Lopetgui’s fate.

"In tough times, we are all pulling in the same direction," said Solari after the victory at Melilla. "We have a team of great champions who know what to do to get the job done."

Solari said on Tuesday that he was open to becoming the coach on a long term basis. The 42-year-old Argentine, who spent five years playing for Madrid between 2000 and 2005, is likely to remain in post for Real's La Liga game at home to Real Valladolid on Saturday.

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