Real Madrid field ineligible player in Copa del Rey match vs. Cadiz

Real Madrid could face disqualification from the Copa del Rey after appearing to field an ineligible player in their fourth-round clash with Cadiz.

Denis Cheryshev had given Rafael Benitez’s side the lead after three minutes at the Ramon de Carranza, but the Russian international had a one-game ban hanging over his head.

Cheryshev was substituted by Benitez for Mateo Kovacic at halftime.

The 24-year-old had picked up three yellow cards during the competition with former club Villarreal last season and this was the first opportunity the winger had to serve the accompanying ban.

But, with Benitez making a host of changes, Cheryshev’s ban was overlooked as he started against the third-tier side.

Benitez spoke to the media after the match stating he was informed of the situation at halftime.

"I had no idea Denis Cheryshev was ineligible," Benitez said as he deflected questions about the issue.

Last season Osasuna were kicked out of the tournament for playing an ineligible player as Unai Garcia was selected in the win over Mirandes despite being sent off the previous year.

Cadiz will have to report the situation to the Spanish Football Federation on Thursday, which could lead to 19-time winners Real being eliminated from the tournament.

After the match, Cadiz president Manolo Vizcaino addressed the issue.

"We’ll do whatever is best for Cadiz," Vizcaino told Radio MARCA. "We’ll study the situation. I can only say that I’ll do the right thing for the club."

Home supporters, meanwhile, could be heard chanting "Cheryshev is banned" and "[Rafael] Benitez, check Twitter" — where the news was being broken — after Cheryshev had put Madrid into a 1-0 lead.

Benitez was manager of Valencia when they were disqualified from the Copa del Rey having played too many non-EU players during a tie against Novelda in 2001.