Atleti lost at Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa’s Reino de León stadium on Thursday and were knocked out of the Copa del Rey. Our team took the lead through Correa, but the home side managed to equalise and win the match in extra-time.
Our team attacked the hosts from the off, with Arias proving to be a threat down the right flank. Vitolo had a massive early chance following a sensational through ball from Joao Félix, but the Spaniard was off target. Manu Sánchez also contributed with runs down the left, and Herrera was close to scoring following a corner forced by our young full-back. However, Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa improved as the first half progressed. They limited our team’s chances, but they didn’t have big opportunities of their own either before the break.
Simeone decided to make his first substitution at half-time, bringing Thomas on for Herrera. The home side were close to taking the lead from a corner early on, but Benito headed wide. We answered well, though, as Vitolo was sent through on goal and forced the goalkeeper to make a fantastic save when he was one on one. The Spaniard was taken off shortly thereafter, and Saponjic came on, in what was our striker’s official debut. And just moments after the substitution, Correa struck to finally put Atleti in the lead. Joao Félix provided the assist.
With the support from the crowd, the hosts pushed for the equaliser as our team struggled to maintain possession. They found it 83 minutes in through Castañeda following a set piece. Simeone’s men reacted very well to the goal and fought to get back in front, and they had three massive opportunities to do so in the last five minutes of the clash. But Giffard made extraordinary saves to deny Saponjic twice and Felipe once and send the game to extra-time.
The goalkeeper continued with his heroics after the 90 minutes, as he flew once again to deny a Saúl header. Simeone made another two substitutions around the 100th minute mark, when Riquelme and Camello came on for Llorente and Correa. But as our team pushed for the winner, the home side stunned us on the break to go 2-1 up thanks to a great goal by Benito. Atleti searched for the equaliser until the last second, but Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa held on to their lead and managed to qualify for the next round of the Copa del Rey.