Real Madrid’s 21-game unbeaten streak came to an abrupt end on Thursday as the Copa del Rey holders crashed out of the competition in the round of 16 at the hands of city rivals Atletico.
Antoine Griezmann’s superb extra-time goal proved to be the difference between the sides, with substitute Rodrigo Riquelme also on the score-sheet at the death in the 4-2 Atleti win.
The two sides had traded four goals over the course of the original 90 minutes, with Samuel Lino putting the hosts ahead in a chaotic derby clash that ultimately delivered 13 yellow cards – including one for Diego Simeone on the sideline. A Jan Oblak own goal cancelled that out, with Alvaro Morata then scoring against his old club and Joselu later forcing the extra-time.
How the game unfolded
Nervy early moments from both sides were complemented by a good tempo in the opening stages, with Atletico in particular looking to stamp a physical authority on the game. But it would be unfair to say that those dressed in all-white weren’t willing to give back as good as they got.
Jude Bellingham’s individual brilliance very nearly handed Madrid an 11th minute lead. The Englishman dribbled his way into a dangerous position, including a cheeky nutmeg on Axel Witsel, before cracking an effort off the crossbar – replays showed the vital deflection from Jose Gimenez’s lunging block that prevented what would have been a certain goal.
More heroics at the back were needed midway through the first half when Rodrygo beat Atletico’s offside trap. Gimenez got back at the Brazilian to poke the ball away, but it would have been a comedic own goal but for the reactions of Oblak to parry. The giant Slovenian was then immediately on his feet to block Vinicius Junior’s attempt to convert the rebound.
Lino’s breakthrough goal in the closing stages of the half was Atletico’s first big chance, keeping his cool to finish on the stretch after peeling off the back of Dani Carvajal. Antonio Rudiger had tried to clear the initial cross in the middle but succeeded only in putting it on a plate for Lino.
Madrid drew level just six minutes later. Oblak, after crucial earlier saves, turned villain when his attempt to punch clear a Luka Modric free-kick saw the ball feebly end up in the back of the net.
Into the second half and it was Andriy Lunin’s turn to drop a clanger as Atletico retook the lead against the run of play. The ball into the box was fortuitous after ricocheting off Eduardo Camavinga, with Lunin only able to pat the ball onto Rudiger’s legs and Morata snook in.
Searching for a second equaliser, Madrid hit the bar for a second time as the cup tie neared its final stages. This time it was Rodrygo, striking the woodwork in similar circumstances to Bellingham over an hour earlier, with a deflection taking the ball onto the frame of the goal.
Atletico squandered a golden chance to put daylight into the score-line as Marcos Llorente picked up on a weak challenge from Camavinga, but his cross only found Lunin’s gloves rather than one of three unmarked teammates at the back post. Moments later, the Madrid goalkeeper pulled off a great save from Morata to keep his team in it, which was directly followed by the second equaliser.
Joselu’s impact off the bench was instant, taking up position at the far post and being rewarded for it when Bellingham’s miscued shot curling turned more into a cross for the veteran striker to head in.
Griezmann’s go-ahead goal ten minutes into extra-time was a thing of beauty. Even with outstanding skill, like much of the game before, an element of chaos made it possible as Vinicius tried desperately to win the ball back and ended up pushing it closer to his own goal and into the Frenchman’s path. From there, close control and a high finish from a narrow angle saw the home fans erupt.
Madrid had the ball in the net once more in the second half of the added period, Dani Ceballos gobbling up a rebound after Oblak could only parry Bellingham’s low shot. But Madrid’s number five had been offside and a flag was raised that a painfully tense VAR review confirmed was the right call.
With Madrid pressing for a third equaliser, at least one big chance on the break was almost inevitable for Atletico and that was exactly how the fourth for Riquelme came. In a two-on-one situation, fellow sub Memphis Depay delayed his pass until the last possible moment for Aurelien Tchouameni to commit to a tackle and then slipped in his teammate for a confident finish across Lunin.