Everything was going so well in Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey round of 32 first-leg match against third division Cadiz. Denis Cheryshev scored in just the third minute to give them a fast lead and Rafa Benitez had to feel he was on his way to proving his doubters wrong and holding onto his job at least until the end of the calendar year.
But then word started to filter through social media that Cheryshev shouldn’t have been eligible to play due to yellow card accumulation in the tournament last season with Villarreal.
The RFEF confirmed Cheryshev's one-game ban in March this year but as Villarreal were knocked out of the Copa, he never served it there
— Football España (@footballespana_) December 2, 2015
The reports quickly gained steam to the point where Cadiz fans inside the stadium began chanting for Benitez to check Twitter before the first half even ended.
During the break, Cadiz’s official account announced that their board would meet after the match to decide whether a complaint would be filed, which would be necessary for the federation to take action against Real Madrid. (UPDATE: Cadiz have since filed a formal complaint.)
El consejo de administración del @Cadiz_CF se reunirá al final del partido
— Cádiz Club de Fútbol (@Cadiz_CF) December 2, 2015
Finally figuring out their massive oversight, Real Madrid panicked and substitute Cheryshev 45 seconds into the second half, bringing more attention to their goof-up.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) December 2, 2015
But wait, there’s more!
Canal+ announce that Madrid's, Borja Mayoral shouldn't be on the bench tonight as he was red carded in the final of the Copa Del Rey Juvenil
— AS USA (@English_AS) December 2, 2015
It isn’t even the first time Benitez has done this!
Rafa Benitez's Valencia were eliminated from the Copa Del Rey in 2001 for fielding an illegible player: pic.twitter.com/Bj8gnvfnaI
— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) December 2, 2015
And now even the king of Real Madrid trolls is laughing.
— Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) December 2, 2015