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Harsh punishment for an Atlético side that gives its all at the Santiago Bernabéu (3-1)

Forlán scored and struck a ball off the post when it was even at one-all

Atlético de Madrid played a good match, standing up to Real Madrid, but ended up losing by an inflated score. Forlán gave the visitors and early lead, Sergio Ramos equalised shortly thereafter, Ronaldo gave Madrid its first lead and Özil ended up widening the final gap. The final decision will be made at the Vicente Calderón. The importance of Forlán’s goal should be noted due to the double value of away goals.

After 17 years, Atlético de Madrid and Real Madrid faced each other once again in the Copa del Rey. The last time was during the 93-94 season in the round of 16. After a two-two draw at the Bernabéu, the ‘blancos’ came out victories after winning 2-3 at the Calderón and passing through to the quarterfinals. Since then, the lottery drum hadn’t paired these two squads in the Cup competition.

For this match, Quique Sánchez Flores decided to start Juanfran, the team’s recent signing who had only been presented at the Calderón the day before. Forlán also returned to the starting line-up after the injury suffered in the first leg round of 16 match against Espanyol. The Uruguayan, who had played a few minutes in the return leg at Cornellá El Prat and also the final fifteen minutes against Hércules, was completely recovered and formed an attacking duo with Agüero up front.

The fact is that the game began at a fast pace, as both sides looked to open the scoring relentlessly. Real Madrid were pushing forward into Atlético’s area, while the visitors were well-situated, keeping their lines together, and very focuses, coming out fast and dangerously on the counter-attack. Dangerous chances began to come for both squads. The home team threatened first with two shots in the opening five minutes, but Atlético de Madrid found the net first when Reyes sent Kun through on the right side and the Argentine tried to dribble Casillas back to the left, where Forlán latched onto the ball to fire into an empty goal.

However, José Mourinho’s squad was hurt and began to emphatically search for the goal defended by an inspired De Gea, who took charge of pushing away truly dangerous shots when the Madrid players got past the defensive fortress of the ‘rojiblancos’. But he was unable to do anything to stop Real Madrid’s goal when Sergio Ramos headed in a corner kick taken by Di María. It was the only way to overcome a team that was playing as a unit.

The ‘rojiblanco’ goalkeeper saved shots from Benzema, Carvalho, Ronaldo and two from Di María in the first half. De Gea was phenomenal in this opening stanza, as the rest of the players worked as hard as they could to keep the match and the qualifying tie open.

Amongst these dangerous plays from the home team, there was one controversial attack for Atlético de Madrid. In the 26th minute, Agüero dribbled into the area and fell against the challenge made by Sergio Ramos. Nonetheless, match official Mateu Lahoz waved play to continue on despite the protests from the ‘rojiblancos’.

After the half, Mario Suárez came on for Raúl García and the encounter continued to follow the same script, although with Real Madrid enjoying fewer spaces. For this reason, they created fewer scoring chances than in the first half. Atlético had the 2nd goal and the lead in their grasp in minute 58 when a long pass from Reyes found Agüero down the right. The Argentine’s shot was parried to the far side, where Forlán first-timed the bouncing ball with his left, but the ball rebounded back off the near post.

Real Madrid were not as forgiving. A cross from Özil found Ronaldo alone at the far post to put the 2-1 on the scoreboard. A possible lead for the visitors turned into a deficit for the first time in just under two minutes. But Atlético didn’t fall apart after that tough blow and marched on as they had up to that moment. The dynamic of the match saw Atleti forced to pressure their opponent, which caused Real Madrid to falter in the precision of their passes.

The third and final goal came just when the game was coming to an end on an unfortunate play for the ‘rojiblanco’ defence, as Filipe Luis and Domínguez failed to clear a ball, which fell to Özil inside the area and the Turk easily slipped it past De Gea. It was too harsh of a punishment for an Atlético de Madrid side that played a solid match, gave its all and ended up lamenting Forlán’s shot off the post when the score was knotted at one. Therefore, this Copa del Rey quarterfinal tie will be decided in the return leg at the Vicente Calderón.

REAL MADRID, 3 (Sergio Ramos, Ronaldo and Özil); ATLÉTICO DE MADRID, 1 (Forlán)

Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Carvalho, Marcelo; Alonso, Khedira, Özil (Gago, 91’); Ronaldo, Benzema (Kaká, 55’) and Di María (Granero, 91’).

Atlético de Madrid:
De Gea; Ujfalusi, Perea, Domínguez, Filipe Luis; Paulo Assunçao, Raúl García (Mario Suárez, 49’), Juanfran (Valera, 88’), Reyes; Kun Agüero and Forlán (Fran Mérida, 78’).

Mateu Lahoz. For Real Madrid showed yellow cards to Di María (27’) and Ronaldo (71’); and for Atlético de Madrid booked Assunçao (34’) and Domínguez (84’).

Incidents: Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. Around 80,000 spectators, with 1,200 ‘rojiblanco’ supporters in the stands. A minute of silence was held for the passing of actor and Real Madrid club member Juanito Navarro. Koke and Elías were the players dropped from the final squad list.
0-1. 6’. Reyes sends a through ball to Agüero, who marches in on Casillas, cuts past and the ball falls to Forlán, who pushes into an empty net.
1-1. 13’. Corner kick taken by Di María is headed in by Sergio Ramos.
2-1. 60. Cross from Özil to the far post where Ronaldo taps in.
3-1. 90’. Özil pounces on a poor clearance by Domínguez inside the area to beat De Gea.