In Thursday’s Copa del Rey quarterfinal at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid overcame a goal deficit to defeat Atletico Madrid 3-1 in extra time on the strength of goals from Rodrygo, Karim Benzema, and Vinicius Junior. In the meantime, feel free to check out our CasinoDaddy pages about the best sports betting casinos of February 2023!
In the 19th minute, Atletico took the lead when captain Koke’s ball found full-back Nahuel Molina, whose cross set up Alvaro Morata for an easy goal. In the second half, substitute Rodrygo equalized, eluding three Atletico defenders to shoot past Jan Oblak. After Benzema gave the home team the lead and Vinicius scored a late third to advance Madrid into the semifinals with Barcelona, Osasuna, and Athletic Club, Stefan Savic was dismissed in extra time to reduce Atletico to 10 men.
1. Real scores another Bernabeu comeback to crush Atletico’s hearts
For Atletico Madrid, this season has been challenging. Their Champions League campaign was a complete failure; they placed last in their group and were denied participation in the Europa League. La Liga’s goal is to finish in the top four. Their local opponents have now heartbreakingly stolen their final opportunity to win a trophy, the Copa del Rey.
Morata’s goal gave Atletico the lead at the Bernabeu for an hour, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned from watching Real Madrid in cup games over the last year, it’s that they never know when they’re losing. You knew there could only be one winner as soon as Rodrigo’s magnificent attempt for the equalizer found the back of the goal.
No one was at all surprised by Benzema’s extra-time goal or Vinicius’ icing-on-the-cake third. Rodrygo, Benzema, and Vinicius scored the goals, and while the drama didn’t quite match last year’s Champions League comeback victories over Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, and Manchester City, it shared some of the same DNA: a dogged unwillingness to accept defeat.
Madrid derbies are not often won with ease. They’ve been tense, competitive affairs ever since Diego Simeone took charge at Atletico Madrid more than 10 years ago. In actuality, all six of the previous one-off matches between these two teams have required extra time: the 2013 Copa del Rey final, the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals, the 2018 UEFA Super Cup final, the 2020 Spanish Supercopa final, and this one. Although there have been few exceptions—Atletico Madrid won the 2013 Copa final and the 2018 Super Cup—these matches have often favored Real Madrid.
While Madrid may look forward to the semifinal draw and the possibility of winning another title, the little group of Atletico fans up in the corner of the Bernabeu had to face another exhaustingly long and ultimately unproductive evening at this stadium.
Vinicius was always going to be in the limelight in this situation since the Real Madrid forward was the victim of yet another heinous racist incident in the lead-up to this derby. Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, LaLiga, and the Spanish football federation all released statements on Thursday denouncing whoever was responsible for hanging a doll wearing the forward’s jersey from a bridge close to Madrid’s training facility. The Bernabeu crowd was also quick to show their support, singing Vinicius’ name before kickoff.
Later, Mario Hermoso received a warning for knocking Vinicius to the ground as he attempted to sprint past the Atletico defense. In the dying seconds, he sprinted towards a worn-out Atletico and finished low into the corner, a perfect conclusion to a performance of unrelenting effort. He tried everything and appeared as likely as anybody to create a Madrid equalizer.
The first strike by Atletico was Morata’s third versus Real Madrid. In the previous two, he scored in both halves to help Juventus defeat Madrid in a high-stakes match that took place in the 2015 Champions League semifinals. But this was his first time donning an Atletico Madrid shirt.
The forward’s relationship with Madrid supporters is tense. Since his cross-city transfer to Atletico Madrid, they have loved making fun of him since they were never really convinced by him while he played here at the Bernabeu. An academy product, there were questions about whether he was talented enough to be Madrid’s center striker.
In reality, Morata mocked one of the numerous insults sent his way by covering the first three letters of his name on the back of his shirt, leaving “rata” (the Spanish word for rat) visible as he celebrated his goal. It was a promising beginning, but it was a rather quiet performance after that until he was replaced in the 63rd minute by a cacophony of whistles.
When the final whistle blew, Morata had already forgotten about his goal, which had only brought him momentary happiness.