Real held by third division Murcia

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MADRID, October 27- Spanish giants Real Madrid avoided a repeat of the humiliating Kings Cup loss to Alcorcon last season on Tuesday but were still held to a 0-0 draw by Third Division Real Murcia in their Last 32 first leg match.Real coach Jose Mourinho had threatened his players with crucifixion should they suffer a similar 4-0 first leg defeat – which their 1-0 second leg victory proved insufficient to see them progress – but they rarely threatened to come away with a win either.

"I am happy with the team," said Mourinho.

"It played enthusiastically and wanted to win.

"My criticism is directed at those who don’t work hard enough and this is not the case here.

"I am happy with them even if the result is not satisfying because we always want to win."

French international striker Karim Benzema failed to impress in a match which the well-informed sports daily Marca had said would be his last chance to prove to Mourinho that he was worth keeping.

Benzema, who has failed to shine at Real since his multi-million euros move from Lyon last year, was eventually replaced just after the hour mark by his principal rival for the striker’s role, Gonzalo Higuain.

Real – who last won this trophy in 1993 – saw their best chance go begging in the 31st minute when Esteban Granero’s left-footed shot hit the bar.

Real’s bitter rivals Barcelona came away with a 2-0 victory at Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in northern Morocco, but at a price as Venezuelan-born striker Jeffren Suarez had to be taken to hospital with a left shoulder injury.

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