R Madrid 3 – 1 A Madrid
Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior scored in extra time as Real Madrid battled back to beat local rivals Atletico 3-1 on Thursday and reach the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.
On a cold night at the Santiago Bernabeu, tickets were sold out for the first match in 77 days due to the World Cup break, Real started slowly and Atletico had many dangerous counter-attacks.
Atletico’s captain, Koke, brilliantly passed the ball to Nahuel Molina, who shadowed the back of Real’s defence, and the full-back set up Alvaro Morata, a former Real academy player, sending the ball into an empty net in 19th minute.
Eder Militao squandered a golden opportunity to equalize in the 32nd minute after a precise cross from Toni Kroos.
It was not until Dani Ceballos came on to replace Ferland Mendy with an injury at the end of the first half that Real started to play better.
The 26-year-old midfielder has injected new momentum into the team, whose players are much more attacking after the break.
Benzema squandered two good chances and Federico Valverde also shot from just outside the box.
Substitute Rodrygo equalized in the 79th minute with a beautiful goal, dribbling past three defenders before finishing beautifully.
With Real Madrid in full control, Atletico played most of the extra time with 10 men after defender Stefan Savic received a second yellow card for a foul on Eduardo Camavinga in the 99th minute.
Five minutes later, Real substitute Marco Asensio made a low pass into the box and Vinicius’ shot deflected to the foot of Benzema, who unleashed an unstoppable shot into the net.
Vinicius secured Real’s victory in his dying moments with a brilliant individual goal, running half the length of the pitch before scoring with a sunken shot.
“We were down early on and after Mendy’s injury the whole team had to rebuild. But we bounced back and played really well after the break,” Ceballos told TVE.
“They played better in the first half, but the coach corrected the mistake in the second half; we controlled the ball and scored. Then, after the red card, it was easier.”
Real Madrid joined Barcelona, Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao in the semi-finals.