Real reaches Copa del Rey semifinals
Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 1-0 Thursday to reach the Copa del Rey semifinals for the first time since 2006.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 32nd goal of the season at the Vicente Calderon stadium by powering Sergio Ramos’ 23rd-minute cross past goalkeeper David De Gea. Madrid won the first leg 3-1 and advanced 4-1 on aggregate.
Madrid extended its unbeaten run against its crosstown rival to 20 games – a streak that stretches to 1999 and includes 14 victories.
Madrid, a 17-time winner which last triumphed in the domestic cup competition in 1993, plays defending champion Sevilla in the last four next week.
Record 25-time champion Barcelona faces Almeria in the other half of the draw.
Madrid coach Jose Mourinho left striker Karim Benzema and playmaker Kaka on the bench to start the game, with Mesut Oezil and Ronaldo playing up front. Angel Di Maria provided support, while fullback Marcelo played further up in the midfield.
"I left Kaka on the bench because I wanted to play a different way. We came in with a 3-1 lead and it was important to conserve it," Mourinho said. "A good decision, no?"
Atletico, without injured striker Sergio Aguero, swarmed Madrid’s area straight away with Jose Antonio Reyes curling a free kick over the far post in the sixth minute.
Madrid keeper Iker Casillas’ error allowed the ball to roll through the area in the 14th, but Tiago was unable to reach it in time to create a chance. Atletico failed to get a shot away in the ensuing scramble.
Madrid scored on its only real opportunity of the game after Ramos beat the offside trap down the right side and picked out Ronaldo for the opener. The Portugal forward tied Barcelona rival Lionel Messi’s 32-goal total in all competitions this season.
Neither side managed any shots before the 45th when Ronaldo’s slick back pass to the left side gave Di Maria a chance from close range, but the Argentina forward bobbled as he tried to dribble through and De Gea was able to cover.
Casillas made an easy save from Fran Merida in the 51st when the Atletico midfielder shot weakly after receiving a pass from Diego Forlan and moving free inside the area.
Forlan had a poor header moments later but the Uruguay striker continued to pester Casillas, who couldn’t reach his shot in the 54th but watched it go wide.
Paulo Assuncao’s long-range shot just missed slipping in at the near post in the 64th as Madrid’s defense kept Atletico from decent close-range chances.
New signing Elias made little impact for the hosts and Jose Antonio Reyes came off in the 25th with an ankle injury. His replacement Diego Costa sent Merida’s pass over goal from close range in the 66th.
Mourinho brought on midfielders Esteban Granero, Fernando Gago and Kaka down the stretch as Madrid played out the rest of the game looking to hold the result. Marcelo had a goal waived away offside in the final minutes.
Madrid’s last domestic cup victory – its 17th – came in 1993. It was eliminated by Zaragoza five years ago in its last semifinal appearance.