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Copa Del Rey 2023-24: Atletico Madrid Storm Into Quarterfinals With 4-2 Win Against Real Madrid; Barcelona Beat Unionistas 3-1

Atletico thrived again at home, where it also beat Madrid in the first Spanish league derby of the season in September in what had been its rival's only loss this season

AP
Real Madrid's Dani Carvajal, foreground, controls the ball next to Atletico Madrid's Riquelme during the Copa del Rey round of 16 match Photo: AP
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Atletico Madrid got the better of Real Madrid this time, beating its crosstown rival 4-2 in extra time Thursday to reach the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey. (Football News)

Antoine Griezmann and Rodrigo Riquelme scored after a 2-2 draw in regulation to send Atletico to the last eight less than a week after it lost to Madrid in the semi-finals of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.

Atletico thrived again at home, where it also beat Madrid in the first Spanish league derby of the season in September in what had been its rival's only loss this season.

Atletico is unbeaten in 25 consecutive matches at its Metropolitano stadium in all competitions, with two draws since a 1-0 league defeat to Barcelona in January 2023.

Defending champion Madrid eliminated Atletico in the Copa quarterfinals last season, winning 3-1 in extra time at home. The city rivals will play again on February 4 — the third meeting in less than a month — in La Liga at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Madrid won 5-3 in extra time in the Super Cup semi-finals last Wednesday.

Griezmann secured Atletico's win this time with a beautiful goal after making a run through the right side of the area. The France international, Atletico's all-time top scorer with 175 goals, got past Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior before finding the top corner from a tight angle.

“It was an amazing goal, probably one of his best,” Madrid coach Diego Simeone said. “We played a very good match and the players gave everything they had against a top opponent. It was a great match.”

Riquelme sealed Atletico's win from inside the area on a breakaway in the 119th after an assist by Memphis Depay.

Atletico had opened the scoring with a goal from close range by Samuel Lino after Madrid defender Antonio Rüdiger deflected the ball backwards into the area in the 39th.

Madrid equalized after a rare mistake by Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who punched the ball into his net while trying to clear a cross.

Álvaro Morata put Atletico ahead again from close range in the 57th after Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin failed to fully clear a cross. The ball bounced off Rüdiger and went toward Morata in front of an open net.

Striker Joselu, who came on for Rodrygo in the 80th, equalized with a header in the 82nd after a cross by Jude Bellingham. Morata had missed a clear chance in a one-on-one situation with Lunin just moments earlier.

Brahim Díaz thought he had scored an equalizer late in extra time, but the goal was disallowed because of an offside by Bellingham.

Bellingham hit the crossbar early in the first half, and Rodrygo struck the woodwork in the second.

Madrid went on to win the Spanish Super Cup 4-1 in the final against Barcelona on Sunday, but there was no guard of honour by Atletico before the match at the Metropolitano. 

There was a report by The Athletic and some Spanish media that some Atletico fans called Vinícius a monkey before the game. The Brazil international had been racially abused by Atletico fans before other derbies, including by some who hanged an effigy of the player off a highway bridge last year.

Simeone exchanged a few heated words with Vinícius after the end of regulation. The coach appeared to be upset with Vinícius because of his celebration after Joselu's goal. Vinícius apparently also got into a spat with one of the ball boys at the Metropolitano.

“It was a very competitive match, he was involved in many duels, and sometimes you are not able to keep your cool," Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said about Vinícius. “I think it's understandable.”

Ancelotti's Madrid had come into the game on an unbeaten run of 21 matches in all competitions, with 17 wins and four draws.

BARCELONA ADVANCES

Barcelona picked up the pace in the second half to beat third-division club Unionistas 3-1 in its pre-quarterfinal match.

It will be the second straight last-eight appearance for the Catalan club, which arrived under pressure after losing the Spanish Super Cup final to Madrid.

After being held 1-1 at half-time, Barcelona improved in the second half to secure the victory with goals by Jules Koundé and Alejandro Balde.

The hosts had taken the lead with a beautiful one-timer by Álvaro Gómez in the 31st minute before Ferran Torres equalized for Barcelona on a breakaway in the 45th. Koundé scored with a long-range shot in the 69th and Balde sealed the victory with a strike from a tight angle in the 73rd.

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“After a tough loss in the Super Cup we needed to rebound," Koundé said. “It wasn't easy, they have a good team and were very motivated."

Unionistas had a few chances to move closer toward the end, but Barcelona goalkeeper Iñaki Peña made some good saves to maintain the comfortable lead at the 5,000-capacity Reina Sofia Stadium.

Barcelona defender Pau Cubarsí, 16, made his first-team debut by entering the match after halftime to replace Andreas Christensen.

Unionistas had eliminated Villarreal on penalties in the previous round.

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