Atlético have qualified for the next round of the Copa del Rey with a 2-1 aggregate win over Espanyol. We’ll meet Real Madrid in the quarter-final stage.
A 1-1 draw against Espanyol tonight was enough after last week’s 1-0 in the Vicente Calderón.
Atlético were pressured early on, which led to a comical situation on our own goal line when De Gea and Perea didn’t clear a cross and it almost rolled into our goal.
But after ten minutes we took control over the match and came incredibly close to scoring. Reyes crossed from the left side to Raúl García, who was left all alone inside Espanyol’s penalty box.
Raúl didn’t hesitate a second and volleyed the ball with tremendous power towards the far corner, where it smacked against the crossbar. Had it gone in this surely would have been one of the contenders for the goal of the year.
In the 25th minute it was Raúl García who set up our opening goal. He lobbed a ball over Espanyol’s defense and Sergio Agüero chased after it.
Our captain on the night brought the ball down and superbly smashed it in off the crossbar, while he was being pulled down by two defenders.
The goal clearly came as a big blow to the home side, who had to score three goals at that point.
In the remaining part of the first half Atlético came very close to increasing the lead on several occasions. First Reyes missed a clear cut chance. Diego Costa found him left entirely free inside the box, but goalkeeper Cristián Álvarez got a hand to our winger’s attempt.
Shortly before half time Filipe set up Agüero who turned his marker inside out, but the Argentine’s cross was cleared off the goalline by Didac before Diego Costa could head it in.
From the following corner Agüero scored, but he was wrongfully flagged offside by the linesman.
In the added time Agüero once more penetrated Espanyol’s box with a brilliant run, but his shot was blocked by Álvarez.
After the break Espanyol tried to push Atleti back again as they went looking for the equaliser. This almost resulted in a great goal for Dátolo, who unintentionally crossed the ball onto the crossbar.
After just an hour Luis García twice thought he was going to equalize but David de Gea and the crossbar kept him out.
First the Espanyol captain daringly took on a volley from outside the box but De Gea equalled the attempt with a miraculous save.
Not a minute later García again shot from the edge of our box, but this time he was denied by the crossbar after a deflection off of an Atlético player.
Atlético looked to hurt Espanyol on the break, but two crosses by Kun just missed their target. First he tried to square the ball for Reyes, but Álvarez reached to it just in time as the cross took a deflection.
Then Agüero tried to volley at goal, but his shot almost set up Diego Costa at the back post, only for Amat to clear the ball away at the last moment.
The biggest opportunity to put this tie to bed came five minutes before the end. Reyes was through on goal with Agüero to his left, but the Andalusian scuffed his shot into the hands of the goalkeeper.
In the final minutes Espanyol ousted their frustration on the legs of our players, but they did get the goal they were looking for all night.
Captain Luis García beautifully curled a freekick over the wall and into the top corner to leave our youngster De Gea without a chance.
With a 2-1 win on aggregate we advance to the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey. Next week we take on Real Madrid in what surely will be another heated battle.
Line-up: De Gea; Ujfalusi (“56 Valera), Perea, Domínguez, Filipe; Raul García, Mario Suárez, Assunçao (“60 Koke), Reyes; Diego Costa (“81 Antonio López) and Agüero.
Goals: 0-1 Agüero (“25); 1-1 Luis García (“93)
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