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Atlético de Madrid - Real Madrid, Copa del Rey 2014-2015: Los Blancos will need a miracle in the Bernabéu (2-0)

Real Madrid ruled the first sixty minutes of the game, but a sloppy penalty kick conceded by Sergio Ramos changed everything.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Once again, Atlético de Madrid proved they are the natural antagonist of this Real Madrid. Even with a lineup full of backup players, the colchoneros were able to put up a great fight against us, resist the early minutes in which Real Madrid controlled the game and enjoyed the best goal chances, and finally get a convincing 2-0 victory that leaves the tie in very favorable circumstances for them. Real Madrid will need something close to a miracle in the Bernabéu next week if they want to move on to the Copa del Rey quarterfinals.

The lineups

Atlético de Madrid: Oblak; Jesús Gámez, Giménez, Godín, Lucas; Gabi, Mario Suárez, Saúl (Arda Turan, 67'), Raúl García; Torres (Koke, 58') and Griezmann (Mandzukic, 74').

Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Arbeloa (Carvajal, 82'), Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Kroos, Khedira, Isco, James (Ronaldo, 62'); Benzema (Jesé, 74') and Bale.

The first half

Los Blancos started off controlling the ball, with a heavy possession-oriented style, and Atlético de Madrid seemed happy about it, as they parked the bus in front of Oblak's goal and decided not to take any risks. However, the very early minutes could have changed the fate of the game, as Real Madrid were able to create their clearest goal chances then. Ramos, in the first minute, was able to head a corner kick sent in by James, but Oblak showed great reflexes to deflect it. Later on, in the 14th minute, Gareth Bale was able to score, again with a header in a set piece, but Clos Gómez disallowed the goal as the Welshman was offside. In the counterattack that followed this action, Griezmann got a good shot that Navas blocked with some difficulties.

The following minutes showed, once again, why this Atlético de Madrid is, possibly, the hardest rival we can have. The two four-man lines Simeone had set in front of their own box performed with a tremendous level of coordination in order to deflect all of our onslaughts to their wings, where they would steal the ball in numeric advantage. In the very few chances that our midfielders were able to combine between their lines, they were intense and fast enough to foul them in order to avoid any dangerous situation. For sure they deserved more than a couple of yellow cards in this period that Clos Gómez seemed not to find in his pocket, and my guess is that they would have had to reduce their intensity if those had been shown, but we will never know if that would have been the case.

In the 24th minute, Griezmann had the clearest goal chance for Atlético de Madrid in the first half, as he controlled a ball that Varane miserably lost in our side of the field, and he quickly ran towards Navas' goal. However, Varane was fast enough to catch him and recover the ball just when Griezmann was about to shoot. Perhaps this goal chance made our players try to avoid risks, but the thing is that, afterwards, their ball possessions were never sharp enough to get close to Atlético's goal.

The second half

After the break, both teams got back to the field just like they had done an hour earlier. Los Blancos had the ball while the colchoneros only wanted to defend and wait for a chance to counterattack. Soon enough, Gareth Bale had an opportunity to score the opening goal when he received a beautiful cross by Marcelo inside the box, but his shot went out by centimeters.

Real Madrid kept controlling the tempo of the game and it seemed Atlético would not have any chance but, in their first approach to Navas in the second half, they got a huge reward as Sergio Ramos unwisely fouled Raúl García inside our box in a situation in which the latter seemed unable to create any danger. García, with a very precise shot that Keylor was about to block, scored Atlético's first goal in the 57th minute from the penalty spot.

Shortly after the goal, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jesé took the spots of James and Benzema, but they were unable to activate Real Madrid's attack to create any decent chance of scoring. Isco and Marcelo were the only men that seemed able to break Atlético's defence from the left wing, but there was a huge risk there, on their unguarded backs, as Ramos, who was the one that needed to cover them, was booked. Koke, Arda Turan and Mandzukic entered the field and Atlético's counterattacks started to look deadlier, but there was a guest that had still not shown up at the party.

Yes, I was talking about Atlético's great effectiveness in set pieces. In the 75th minute, Giménez scored their second goal with a header after a corner kick, and this pretty much wrapped up the game. Jesé showed great will from the right wing, but he was never able to create anything that could have resulted in the 2-1 goal, and so the 2-0 was the final result.

The second leg will be played in the Bernabéu next Thursday. Real Madrid will need a great atmosphere and an even greater performance if they want to be in the quarterfinals.

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