Copa del Rey: Valencia 1 – 1 Atlético
Atlético give up late goal in cup tie
Atlético faced their first real challenge in defending the Copa del Rey title on Tuesday night when they travelled to Mestalla.
After comfortably beating Sant Andreu, the Rojiblancos now faced Valencia and their new coach Pizzi, who was determined to maintain his 100% record with Los Che.
Pizzi had his men play aggressively and dominantly, which in the end paid off when Valencia earned a 93rd minute equalizer.
Up until the last ten minutes Atleti had soaked up the pressure from the home team without giving away any chances. The Colchoneros were the more dangerous side without having much possession, and took the lead when Raúl García scored a header from close range after a howler by Vicente Guaita, who spilled a Gabi corner kick.
It was yet another goal for the midfielder, who always seems to score when he’s handed a start by Simeone. It was a memorable night for RG8 anyway as he made his 250th appearance in red and white.
In the first half Atleti, where Josuha Guilavogui was a surprise inclusion, had come close to scoring on two occasions, but first Guaita denied Raúl, while Ricardo Costa did well to block Diego Costa shortly before the break.
Valencia lacked creativity and found Thibaut Courtois in their way when finally Bernat created a chance to score.
With fifteen minutes left to play and facing a defeat, Pizzi decided to bring on Feghouli and Piatti, the two tricky wingers and the only two players rested after Saturday’s derby win. The duo immediately altered the game with their direct running, which caused tremendous problems for the tiring Atleti defence.
Shortly after García’s goal, Canales nearly tied the game with a fantastic strike from distance, but Courtois pulled off an incredibly acrobatic save to deny the former Real Madrid and Racing playmaker. Courtois was again called to action when Feghouli assisted Piatti, while Canales did his team a disservice by missing an open goal from only six yards out.
The chances were immediately followed up by another drive from Feghouli, who beat the entire defence before firing right at our Belgian ‘keeper.
It seemed like Atleti would hang on to get away with a sneaky win, but in the 93rd minute the Rojiblancos were caught out of position on a break, which led to the equalizer by Hélder Postiga. Andrés Guardado bombed forward and crossed for Feghouli, who aimed his volley at goal but instead delivered a cross to his Portuguese team mate, who headed the ball into the back of the net from close range.
The return leg of this Copa del Rey clash will be played next Tuesday (21.30 CET) at the Vicente Calderón.
|Postiga 93'||Raúl García 73'|
|Copa del Rey|
|07 January 2014|
|C. Rodríguez (67')|