Copa del Rey: Atlético 2 – 0 Real Madrid
Atleti record their third win in a row against the old enemy
It was certainly a case of something old and something new on Wednesday evening at the Vicente Calderón, as a much-changed Atlético side ran out 2-0 winners over Real Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey clash.
Second half goals from Raúl García and the young Urugayan José Giménez put Atleti in a very strong position going into next week’s second leg across town at the Bernabeu.
Diego Simeone made sweeping changes to the side, with seven players coming into the side after the win against Levante at the weekend.
Fernando Torres made his debut again for Atlético, whilst youngsters Oblak and Lucas were handed rare starts. Gamez, Mario Suarez, Saul and Raúl García also came in to give some of the regular starters a well-deserved break. Cristiano Ronaldo started on the bench for our rivals.
It was nearly Real Madrid who got off to the perfect start. It took only a magnificent save from Oblak, who must be rusty in only his fourth start for Atlético, after a Sergio Ramos bullet header. The Spaniard had jumped over his compatriot Raúl García but couldn’t direct the ball past the goalkeeper.
Atleti did start with high enery, and they were chasing down Real Madrid, who enjoyed a lot of the opening possession. Fernando Torres almost caused a problem in the first couple of minutes, after he chased down a hesitant Keylor Navas in the Real Madrid goal, but the goalkeeper recovered well.
The ball was in the back of the Atlético net before long, and it looked as if Real had made the most of their 80% possession. A free kick into the Atleti box was headed on by Gareth Bale, before settling into the back of Oblak’s net. However the Welshman was ruled offside and the goal was chalked off.
After some quick thinking from our 21-year-old Slovenian goalkeeper, the ball was fired down the other end of the pitch to an alert Griezmann, who after a neat one-two had a shot at the Real Madrid goal, but couldn’t catch Navas out at his near post.
It was a feisty affair, with handbags from both teams. Raúl García was in the midst of it in the opening 20 minutes, after he slapped Khedira in the face after some pushing in the Real penalty area. The referee didn’t see it – however he did book Khedira not long after for shoving his hand into the face of Fernando Torres.
The best chance for Atleti in the first half involved two Frenchman. Varane, pressured by Griezmann, gave up the ball in his own half. Griezmann showed tremendous pace to pick it up and dash towards goal, but the Real defender recovered well and showed just as much speed to keep up with his compatriot, before pulling off a fantastic sliding tackle to deny the ex-Sociedad man a clear strike on goal. The teams went in at half-time 0-0.
The second period started in the same vein, with an early Real Madrid chance for Gareth Bale being steered wide by the most expensive player in the world.
Just ten minutes into the first half, Atleti got the breakthrough. Raúl García picked up the ball on the flank, and tried to play a ball through to a waiting Griezmann in the centre, but the poor cross was easily cleared for a throw-in.
The resulting long ball in from Gámez was floated up in the air, and while everyone else had their eye on the ball, Sergio Ramos and Raúl had their arms wrapped around each other. Ramos pulled him to the floor, and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
It was Raúl García himself who stepped up to take the penalty, and the Real Raúl confidently dispatched it into the right hand corner of the goal with minimum fuss. 1-0 to Atleti.
From this point on, Real Madrid never really looked like equalising. Despite bringing on Cristiano Ronaldo with half an hour to go, Atleti continued the pressure on every opposition player. It was foul after foul after foul for both teams, and an absolute flurry of yellow cards.
Fernando Torres, who worked hard closing down the opposition but didn’t enjoy the best of nights on the ball, was replaced by Koke as the second half progressed. It’s the first time El Niño has ever come out of the Madrid derby on the winning team.
The excellent Saúl also got a breather as the magician Arda Turan entered the fray.
It was no surprise which team grabbed the second goal. A corner from Gabi was whipped into the box with some pace, and it was the 19-year-old José Giménez, who had a fantastic game for Atleti, jumping above everyone to head the ball into the back of the Real Madrid net. 2-0.
Cholo celebrated in typical fashion, running down the sideline, before pivoting and running back towards his son Giuliano, who was a ballboy this evening. He jumped up on his Dad to celebrate three wins in a row over Atleti’s great rivals, and three years to the day since Simeone’s first match in charge of Atlético.
It got a bit scrappy toward the end of the match, and Arbeloa should have been sent off for a terrible tackle on Gabi, but Atleti will be happy with a 2-0 advantage going into next week’s tie at the Bernabeu, knowing that a quarter-final against Barcelona will be their reward if they can keep up their advantage.
How did you rate the performance of our youngsters tonight? Who was your man of the match?
|Atlético Madrid||20||Real Madrid|
|Raúl García (p) 58'|
|Copa del Rey|
|07 January 2015|