Real Madrid pip Atletico to Copa crown with Rodrygo leading the comeback

Vinicius scored the third goal in a tough game where Savic was sent off in extra time

REUTERS/SUSANA VERA  -   Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti

A Vinicius dummy hanging from a bridge leading to Real Madrid's Ciudad Deportiva and a sign claiming that Madrid hates Real Madrid. With these Sicilian mafia overtones, the Copa del Rey derby between the two teams from the Spanish capital kicked off.

The red and white club continues to be led by a dark plot of characters protected by the club who are capable of stopping training sessions, insulting their own players or awakening the basest instincts that should already be buried in Spain. 

AFP/PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU - Real Madrid's Uruguayan midfielder Federico Valverde (C) kicks the ball during the Copa del Rey quarter final football match between Real Madrid CF and Club Atletico de Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on January 26, 2023

The distribution of tickets took second place when the match started. Nobody cared whether there were 400 or 4,000 red and white fans at the Bernabéu. The grass didn't help and neither did the tarpaulins. Add to that the fact that Real Madrid's pace was reminiscent of the Super Cup final, and the white debacle seemed close.

Morata scored the first goal after a run down Real Madrid's left flank. A mismatch between Mendy and Militao saw Atlético go ahead and take control of the game against a physical Real Madrid who were late to every play.  

REUTERS/SUSANA VERA - Atletico Madrid's Angel Correa celebrates after Alvaro Morata scores the first goal against Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Morata lives at odds with his profession. In permanent complaint for everything and always annoyed because he does not conceive the world of football as it is. In the celebration he wanted to cover the first two letters of his name on his shirt to remember the insults that are thrown at him from his former home. To live so much in the rival's eyes and forget your own is not the way to go.

Half-time was the best moment for Ancelotti. The dressing room served, once again, for the Italian coach to put in the necessary motivation and commitment. Simeone said after the game, "Real Madrid started to play in the second half".

Mendy had made way for Ceballos just before half-time and then Rodrygo and Asensio came to the rescue. Atlético didn't want to put the hammer on their arch-rivals and that forced them to increasingly withdraw into their own area, take Morata off the bench and make way for holding players such as Witsel.  

REUTERS/VIOLETA SANTOS - Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone

With no attacking ability, Atlético could only wait for the goal, which came after a good move by Rodrygo on the edge of the area and a shot with the outside of the box that went in off Oblak's post. That happened in the 79th minute and the rest is the written history between these two clubs who have already met in two Champions League finals with a similar script: Atletico go forward, dominate and start to become small until they disappear.

The schedule is so tight for Real Madrid that the team did not want to play extra time. They went in search of 2-1 until the 95th minute to avoid another half hour. It was not to be and extra time decided the match. Savic was sent off in the 99th minute and in the 104th minute Benzema made it 2-1.  

AFP/THOMAS COEX - Spanish referee Cesar Soto Grado (r) shows a red card to Atletico Madrid's Montenegrin defender Stefan Savic (2a-l) during the Copa del Rey quarter-final football match between Real Madrid CF and Club Atletico de Madrid.

Atlético asked for Ceballos to be sent off for bringing down an opponent in the middle of the area, but the referee only called the foul. It was a tough match, with hard tackles and a lot of theatrics from both teams.

Mario Martín and Odriozola came on in the final minutes and saw Vinicius score the third goal, knocking Atlético out of the Copa and leaving them in the middle of a four-month desert with nothing to play for.  

​AFP/PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU - Real Madrid's Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the Copa del Rey quarter final match between Real Madrid CF and Club Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on January 26, 2023

The extra-sporting affronts did not reach the pitch, thankfully. Real Madrid advance to the Cup semi-finals with no dates on the calendar to play all that lies ahead. Blessed football. Although the capital derby leaves a bitter taste of the drift towards which some want to take their team.