Real Madrid 3-1 Atletico Madrid (aet): Vinicius Jnr has the last laugh as he seals progress to the Copa del Rey semi-finals for Carlo Ancelotti’s side after Alvaro Morata had given visitors the lead… with Stefan Savic sent off in extra-time
Real Madrid came from a goal behind to beat 10-man Atletico Madrid 3-1 in extra-time and make it to the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.
It was epic from Carlo Ancelotti’s team but you had to feel for Diego Simone. He had seen this movie before – in two Champions League finals: take the lead, miss chances to bury the opposition, and succumb to late goals.
Karim Benzema got the winner on 104 minutes. Substitute Marco Asensio crossed from the right, the Brazilians Vinicius, who got the third, and Rodrygo, who had scored an extraordinary equalizer, missed it, but Benzema swept it in at the back post.
The winner came shortly after Stefan Savic was sent off for two quick yellows. Atletico will argue that Dani Ceballos should have suffered the same fate earlier in the game. Fortune had perhaps favoured Real Madrid but with wave after wave of attack they had made their own luck.
Atletico were ahead on 19 minutes when Koke received from Antoine Griezmann and played an intelligent flighted first time pass out to Nahuel Molina down the right. He crossed low first time to Alvaro Morata and the former Real Madrid striker couldn’t miss from close range.
Simeone had flooded midfield with Molina joining Griezmann, Koke, Rodrigo de Paul, Angel Correa and Thomas Lemar. It left three at the back with Savic marking Vinicius. When he fouled him on the half hour Toni Kroos whipped in the cross and looked to be going in off of Morata’s head but Eder Militao managed to inadvertently clear it from under the crossbar.
There was another setback for Madrid when Ferland Mendy went off with a hamstring injury and Ceballos came into midfield with Eduardo Camavinga having to go to left-back. Madrid needed half time to reorganize – after Vinicius’ earlier incursions he had been isolated and Atletico were on top.
Morata went down injured five minutes into the second half after a collision with Militao and Memphis Depay started to warm-up. Madrid were playing with more spark now and Valverde’s back heel was almost turned in by Vinicius and Benzema. Valverde then shot over from Luca Modric’s lay-off. Camavinga was impressive at emergency left back and in front of him Vinicius was driving the home team forward.
Madrid were getting closer and when the Brazilian nicked possession in midfield and sprinted forward the equalizer looked on. He crossed to Benzema and when his shot was saved it came out to Vinicius who needed a touch to control it – a touch too many because Savic cleared.
Morata was finally taken off on Minute 62 but it was Axel Witsel who came on and not Memphis. Ancelotti sent on Rodrygo for Valverde with 20 minutes left.
On a rare Atletico break that stemmed from Benzema giving the ball away Atletico won a free-kick on the edge of the area and Courtois saved brilliantly from Griezmann. From the corner Witsel’s acrobatic scissor kick went wide.
Now it was Memphis time as Lemar went off. Marco Asensio came on for Madrid and Yannick Carrasco replaced Correa.
Memphis’ introduction coincided with the equalizer finally arriving and what a beauty it was. Rodrygo scored it dancing past, first Witsel, then Hermoso, and finally Savic and Molina, before poking the ball past Jan Oblak.
Madrid went for the winner in normal time and in the 93rd minute Militao found the energy to run from one penalty box to the other swapping passes with Benzema in a final counter that came to nothing.
Griezmann was taken off ahead of extra time – that can only have been welcomed by Real Madrid. Everyone was exhausted, everyone except Militao and Vinicius who was still full of menace down the left. He and Savic got involved off the ball and both were booked – 90 seconds later he chopped down the galloping Camavinga, also still fresh as minute one, and the second yellow was shown.
With ten-men Atletico were hanging on now and resistance did not last long with Benzema making it 2-1.
At half time of extra time the subbed Koke and substitute Jose Gimenez mobbed the referee and Koke was booked. Simeone had his drained players huddled around him and was urging them towards one last push.
Atletico did not lay down but Memphis’ loose shot dragged wide was as close as they came to an equalizer. As the clock run down Rodrygo hobbled off, his work of art second half goal having forced extra-time. Vinicius ran through Atletico’s ragged rearguard and with the last attack scored the third.
Madrid celebrated on the final whistle. They join Barcelona, Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao in the semi-finals. Atletico have only a top-four La Liga place to play for. Play like this and they will make that, but it will hurt watching the final rounds of all the big knockout competitions on the TV.