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On to the cup semi-finals

MATCH REPORT. 26/01/2023. Alberto Navarro. Photographer: Antonio Villalba, Helios de la Rubia and Pedro Castillo

Real Madrid cameback from 1-0 down at half-time with a Rodrygo goal in the 79th minute and goals from Benzema and Vini Jr. in extra time.

Real Madrid are in the Copa del Rey semi-finals. The derby went to extra time and once again our team proved that they control situations like this better than anyone else. Morata put Atlético ahead in the 19th minute before Rodrygo equalised in the 79th with a special piece of individual skill, a great bit of play in which he beat three opponents and scored with the outside of his boot. Benzema was instrumental in extra time, scoring the second goal in 104 minutes, and Vini Jr. added the third in stoppage time.

It was a very high tempo start to the game and Atlético were the first to draw blood as Morata netted in the 19th minute, but our team had two chances to level before the break. Valverde's shot from the edge of the area ended up in Oblak's hands. The second, more clear-cut, was from a set-piece just past the half-hour mark when a Kroos free-kick from the left was headed wide by Militão with the keeper beaten, but he was unable to find the target.

Video.3-1: On to the cup semi-finals

It was a completely different story as the players came back out for the second half. Real Madrid began to press higher and push Atlético back to the edge of their box. Our team had taken full control of the game but now it was a question of breaching the well-drilled visiting defence. They came close on 54’ when Nacho’s cross-shot was flicked towards goal by Valverde’s heel but flew just wide. Four minutes later, Madrid were wreaking havoc again as Benzema’s left-footed drive was repelled by Oblak, and just as the ball fell to Vini Jr. in the box, Savic was on hand to hook it clear.

Rodrygo produces a masterpiece 
The clock continued to tick down and with 73 minutes gone, Griezmann came close to extending Atlético’s lead but his free-kick was kept out by Courtois. The response was quite spectacular, a true work of art, as Rodrygo lit up the game on 79’. The Brazilian received the ball miles from goal and set off on a mazy run, escaping the attentions Witsel, Hermoso and Savic before beating Oblak with the outside of his right boot. From that point on, backed by a vociferous Bernabéu crowd, Ancelotti’s boys went all out in search of the goal that would clinch them a place in the semi-finals, but they were unable to find it before the end of regulation time.

The additional period followed much the same script as Ancelotti’s team continued to dominate. Modrić whipped in a corner on 95’ but Rüdiger’s just failed to find the target. Four minutes later, Atlético were reduced to ten men after Savic was shown a second yellow card. This was all the home side needed to complete the turnaround before the first half of extra-time was up. With 104 minutes on the clock, Asensio swung a ball into the box and Benzema ghosted in at the back post to turn it into the net. Madrid went on to see the game out, even adding to their lead thanks to some fine individual play by Vini Jr.



The referee

Soto Grado (La Rioja Committee), assisted on the sidelines by Sánchez Rojo and Álvarez Fernández. Sesma Espinosa as the fourth official and González González (Castilian-León Committee) will be the video assistant referee.