Copa del Rey: Atlético 2 – 1 Sevilla
Atlético Madrid have taken the first step towards the final of the Copa del Rey.
As with previous matches between these two teams, the battle between Atlético and Sevilla was heated, rough and controversial.
After a spectacular 90 minutes Atleti lead the tie 2-1 after both teams scored goals from the spot kick. Álvaro Negredo was the first player to beat Thibaut Courtois at the Vicente Calderón in over 1,000 minutes, while Diego Costa got his team the win with a brace from the spot kick.
While the match was played on the edge from the very start, it took both teams a while to get going. After half an hour Koke was the first player with a serious attempt on goal, after he was at the end of an attack which ran through Arda Turan and Adrián.
Adrián himself later had a big opportunity to score, but after beating his first opponent he lost his composure and fired off target. At the other end Sevilla captain Negredo launched a missile from 35 yards out which seemed to be headed straight to the topcorner, but somehow Belgian phenom Thibaut Courtois got a hand to the thunderous strike.
Before the break Atleti piled on the pressure and seemed to bring Sevilla down to their knees, but Diego Costa was just an inch off on a series of chances. First he played the ball across goal with none of his teammates near, and later he came just short of a sharp cross by Adrián. The Beast of the Manzanares got his best chance a few moments later, when he missed 1-on-1 with debuting goalkeeper Beto.
At the start of the second half things really kicked off. Emir Spahic foolishly slapped the ball away before Costa’s feet and conceded a penalty, as well as collecting his second booking of the night. Diego Costa himself stepped up and finally put Atleti ahead.
But a few minutes later Diego Godín also conceded a penalty after handling the ball and the Uruguayan received a straight red as he – unintentionally – blocked what surely would have been a goal. Álvaro Negredo also calmly scored from the spot kick.
After the sudden setback Atleti seemed shaken up and Rakitic almost profited with a long ranger, but the Croatian’s attempt went just inches wide. The truce on the scoreboard wouldn’t stand long however as Atlético were awarded another penalty for yet another hand ball. Diego Costa and Cebolla Rodríguez combined in Sevilla’s area, where Navarro tripped and confused himself with goalkeeper Beto. Diego Costa stepped up again and gave Atleti the lead for the second time.
Referee Ayza Gómez still wasn’t quite done and the Atleti supporters who complained that Navarro was allowed to stay on the pitch later got what they wanted when Ayza sent Sevilla’s left back off. Navarro rashly tackled Diego Costa, who was on his way to Beto, and picked up a straight red.
Atlético were unable to make the most of their numerical advantage and will rue their missed chances, but the Colchoneros will take a 2-1 lead to the Sánchez Pizjuán for the return leg of the Copa del Rey in a month’s time.
Line-up: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe; Arda, Gabi, Mario, Koke (“60 Cata Díaz); Adrián (“64 Cristian Rodríguez) and Diego Costa.
Goals: 1-0 Diego Costa p.k. (“50); 1-1 Negredo p.k. (“56); Diego Costa 2-1 p.k. (“71)