A Real Madrid with two faces, subdued in the first act and unleashed in the second, four years later he reached the semifinals of the Copa del Reyafter his second consecutive comeback in the competition, lifted from the canvas with a genius from Rodrygo, who punished the bravest version of the Atletico Madrid of Diego Simeone (3-1), who said goodbye in inferiority in the extension of the fight for the titles.
Simeone always kept an ace up his sleeve for visits to the Santiago Bernabeor. So many years give for happiness and disappointment, but great memories of the red and white reconstruction were given in the Madrid temple.
The present, far from identity, from the firmness of a team with the Cholo seal, demanded an outstanding game to avoid a season without incentives before the end of January. And the Argentine coach took the step forward that had been demanded of him for a long time, but his great first half was not enough against the comeback Real Madrid.
The courage of an Atlético team that regained its conviction in the best scenario contrasted from the start with a Real Madrid team that suddenly returned to a reunion with its limitations. Victim in the first act of a tactical defeat of ancelotti before Simeone. The hierarchy, the criteria with the ball, the always productive rojiblancas possessions were put in the mirror before the defensive impotence and the madridista offensive imprecision.
It has to be a coincidence but it coincided with the return of Kroos and Modric to the eleven of ‘Carletto’. Footballers of such criteria cannot go out at once, but they can accuse more than the rest, due to the inevitable logic of age, the low moments of form. Both chased shadows because the Madrid disaster of the first act was born in the loss of the battle of a midfield where Koke reigned.
The rojiblanco captain hadn’t played with such judgment and confidence for a long time. Starting point for a quality game in response to the offensive approach, which was projected with the quality that Griezmann gives to the plays, enjoying his freedom of movement, with superiority on the wings, where Mendy suffered until he was injured by fouls of aid from Viniciusand the offensive projection of a Nahuel Molina with the identity of the World Cup with Argentina.
Simeone’s slogan was clear. Real Madrid grows from the imbalance that Vinícius generates. Two players above the Brazilian always. So it is not surprising that even Griezmann fell down the right side as support for Nahuel when it was not Correa. On the other side, Real Madrid chewed impotence in each wrong action of an unknown Fede Valverde.
Therefore, the only intimidating actions were born either from Morata’s losses or from an imprecision in the ball’s release. This is how ‘Vini’ forgave the only clear one from the first act. As electric as imprecise. Wanting his football to silence the acts of hate on his figure. He found Benzema who invented the wall but, instead of shooting with everything to do it, he chose to control and Reinildo acted as savior.
As decisive as in a cut to Vinícius’s filtered pass that left Modric alone. There were no more difficulties for Atlético in a first half that they dyed rojiblanco. He added the forcefulness that he has lacked for a good part of the season.
After a deflected first attempt by Correa, finding spaces to exploit on Mendy’s flank, where Koke spiked the ball for Nahuel to appear like a bolt of lightning who first put, with as much tension as precision, a gift to Morata’s goal for the 19 minutes. The blow did not motivate the reaction of Real Madrid that cost him to interpret the game. He came across the conviction of an Atlético de Madrid comfortable from possession and dominance, who missed the moment to hit a reeling rival.
Oblak only had to respond to a soft shot from Valverde and saw how Militao, instead of scoring, prevented the goal from a poisoned free kick from Kroos. Ancelotti’s readjustments were forced. Mendy’s muscle injury and defensive casualties caused Camavinga to play on the left back. Ceballos to the field to increase the criterion with the ball. Forced to one of those comebacks for which he has the patent, the
Real Madrid took the derby to the emotional terrain and changed its identity in one fell swoop. Same players, another attitude.
He came out focused after the break, with greater aggressiveness in the fight for each ball, installed in the opposite field.
More than two months later, football returned to the Santiago Bernabéu and Real Madrid, as soon as they saw their players pull with pride, accompanied them by pushing from the stands. At each arrival the equalizer was closer. After a cross shot from Nacho that grazed Valverde’s heel, another shot above the Uruguayan before leaving the match or Oblak’s first merit save, with a firm glove to Benzema’s shot before Savic avoided the goal from a slow Vinícius to convert the rebound into a goal.
When Atlético de Madrid was able to run, he lacked punch, precision in the area that decides matches. Griezmann had forgiven the clearest counterattack, with a bad choice in the final pass after the race. The Frenchman had encountered Courtois’s flight due to his lack of the squad, when Rodrygo appeared after taking his savior of la Champions League. Substitute since his rudeness to Ancelotti in La Cerámica, when he denied him the greeting in the change, the Brazilian had no better way to earn forgiveness. He invented a goal out of nowhere to score.
In speed, he left Witsel, stepping on the ball with confidence before making two cuts to the central defenders and defining from the right in a futsal action, where Oblak did not expect it. It was the reward for Ancelotti’s offensive changes from which he corrected the course of the tie. Con Marco Asensio, Rodrygo, Vinícius and Benzema together. Four strikers who could have avoided extra time, with a long shot by Rodrygo looking for the squad, like losing the game. It was avoided by Courtois, who always appears, with a hand down to Memphis in the 90th minute after Griezmann pardoned the pass to the semifinals.
Alone, after Witsel’s first pass, betting on power instead of definition. Sending rojiblancas hopes to limbo. There, Atlético de Madrid lost the game. After disarming the rival’s virtues and standing up to the white hurricane. Conditioned in extra time by an absurd pique between Savic and Vinícius, in the fight for the ball with the game stopped, which cost them both a yellow card. A minute and a half later it became red for the Montenegrin defender when he arrived late for Camavinga’s race.
With ten it became impossible for an Atlético who never stopped fighting. In defense of five until at minute 103 Benzema put his signature to the comeback, after moving the ball quickly against a closed rival, the center of Asensio and favored by a bad shot from Vinícius.
At the far post, where he was waiting for his moment, Karim unleashed madness at the Bernabéu and Vinícius, it could not be another, put the finishing touch with time served. A new comeback from a team that overcomes everything and ended up defending against the rojiblanca’s lack of aim that said goodbye to the Cup on foot, resigning its course to the fight in the League for a place in the next edition of the Champions League
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