Madrid make another derbi comeback, breaking Atleti’s heart

MADRID — Rodrygo, Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior recorded as Real Madrid came back from a goal down to defeat Atlético Madrid 3-1 after extra time in their Copa del Rey quarter-final at the Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday.

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Atletico took the lead in the 19th minute when captain Koke’s pass was found at the full-back Nahuel Molina, whose cross made Alvaro Morata straight. Substitute Rodrygo equalized in the second half, beating three Atletico defenders before finishing diagonally across the corner. Jan Oblak. Stefan Savic sent off in extra time left Atletico with 10 men, before Benzema put the home team ahead and Vinicius scored a late third to send Madrid into the semi-finals with Barcelona, Osasuna and Sport Club.

JUMP TO: Best/worst performer | Highlights and remarkable moments | Quotes after the game | main statistics | upcoming match schedule

rapid response

1. Real broke Atletico’s heart in another comeback at the Bernabeu

This has been a difficult season for Atletico Madrid. Their championship the campaign was a disaster — finishing at the bottom of their table to miss out on Europa League football — and their goal in LaLiga simply finished in the top four. Now, the last chance to win the trophy, the Copa del Rey, has been heartbreakingly taken away by local rivals.

Atletico took an hour-long lead at the Bernabeu thanks to Morata’s goal, but if we’ve learned anything from watching Real Madrid in cup competitions over the past year, it’s that they never knew they were beaten when any. From the moment Rodrygo’s spectacular effort headed into the net to equalize, you knew there would only be one winner.

Benzema’s extra-time goal – and Vinicius’ third – came as no surprise. And while the movie doesn’t quite match last year’s Champions League comeback win Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and City of Manchesterit shares some of the same DNA: a resolute refusal to accept defeat, and goalscorers Rodrygo, Benzema and Vinicius step up with key moments of individual quality.

Madrid derbies are rarely won easily. Since Diego Simeone took over at Atletico more than a decade ago, they have had a tense and close relationship. In fact, the previous six meetings between these two clubs have been in one-leg matches — the 2013 Copa del Rey final, the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals, the 2018 UEFA Super Cup final, the match. the final of the Spanish Super Cup 2020 and now here — it’s all gone to extra time. But while there are exceptions – the 2013 Copa final went to Atletico, as well as the 2018 Super Cup – those clashes tend to favor Real Madrid.

Here, the small group of Atletico fans in the corner of the Bernabeu have endured another long, ultimately fruitless evening at the stadium, while Madrid can look forward to the semi-final draw and chance. Win another title.

2. Vinicius gives his all on the pitch after facing more racism

The spotlight here always falls on Vinicius later The Real Madrid striker has suffered another disgusting racist incident in preparation for this derby. Condemnation of whoever was responsible for hanging an effigy wearing the striker’s shirt from a bridge near Madrid’s training ground was swift – Real Madrid, Atletico, LaLiga and the Spanish football federation all released a statement. on Thursday – and the crowd at the Bernabeu was quick to protest. show their support, singing Vinicius’ name before the start.

Madrid’s best early-game moments all featured Vinicius, but they failed to capitalize. At the eighth minute, a two with Benzema left Brazil international alone in front of goal, only for defender Reinildo to cross and deliver a perfect final tackle. Half an hour into the game, Vinicius lured Savic into a rough tackle on the edge of the Atletico box, and Toni Kroos’s free kick was headed over the bar by Eder Militao.

At moment later, Mario Hermoso was booked for disqualifying Vinicius as he managed to get past the Atletico defence. He tried everything – and seemed more likely to create an equalizer for Madrid than anyone – but failed to convert until the last seconds, when he ran past a weary Atletico and finished. low corner entry point, a worthy end to a relentlessly trying performance.

3. Morata threatens to haunt his old team again

Atletico’s opening goal was Morata’s third goal against Real Madrid. The previous two games were also played in high-risk situations: the 2015 Champions League semi-final, when he scored in both legs to help Juventus beat Madrid. However, this is his first time playing for Atletico.

The striker has an adversarial relationship with Madrid fans. They were never completely convinced of him when he was playing here at the Bernabeu – an academy product, there were doubts whether he was good enough to be a Madrid centre-forward – and has enjoyed mocking him ever since he moved to Atletico.

In fact, Morata celebrated his goal by covering the first three letters of his name on the back of his shirt, to show “rata” – the Spanish word for mouse – alluded to one of many insults to him. It was a promising start, but performances were relatively quiet after that, until he was substituted after a whistle in the 63rd minute.

The goal turned out to be just a brief moment of joy for Morata, long forgotten when the final whistle blew.

Best and worst performers

BEST: Rodrygo, Real Madrid. Score the goal of the season, dribbling past Hermoso, Savic and Axel Witsel before a daring off-foot finish knocks Oblak down.

GOOD: Eduardo CamavingaReal Madrid. Looks increasingly comfortable in midfield and copes well when switching to left-back.

BEST: Eder Militao, Atletico Madrid. Another excellent, all-round defensive performance in power, speed and possession.

THE WORST: Ferland MendyReal Madrid. Couldn’t pick up Morata for his goal and got injured before half-time.

THE WORST: Federico ValverdeReal Madrid. Looks like he still hasn’t regained his pre-World Cup form.

THE WORST: Thomas LemarAtlético Madrid. Struggling to make any kind of impact in midfield.

Highlights and remarkable moments

The tight control. The outer finish starts up. Pointing to the name on the back of the shirt. What’s not to like from Rodrygo?

After the game: What the player/manager said

Benzema: “It was a difficult game, but with the character and the players we had, we were able to come back. The endurance was not good, we should have scored sooner. … It was a game. unique game They defended deep and it was very difficult for us, the most important thing was to keep going. … [Rodrygo] scored a great goal, he has a lot of talent.”

player: “We played well in the first half. The second half was not so good, they increased the tempo and equalized. We played with 10 men and it was even more difficult. We had our chances, we played well. and Savic’s red card punishes us, but that’s football.”

Key stats (powered by ESPN Stats & Information research)

– Morata’s third career goal against former club Madrid, and first against former club Madrid. Los Blancos as a member of Atletico.

– Before Thursday, Madrid had not conceded first in a league match race since 1949.

– Rodrygo has two goals in his last 19 appearances for Madrid in all competitions, but both are winning or closing goals.

Real Madrid’s last comeback against Atletico was in the 2014 Champions League final.


RealMadrid: Madrid will return to the LaLiga action on Sunday, as they welcome Real Sociedad to the Bernabéu (3 p.m. ET, broadcast live on ESPN+).

Atlético Madrid: Atleti heads to Pamplona on Sunday to meet Osasuna in LaLiga (10 a.m. ET, broadcast live on ESPN+).


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