What: Spanish Copa del Rey Semi-final First-leg
Who: Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid
When: Wednesday 5th February, 2014, at 19:00 UK Time
Where: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain


Few people would have thought twelve months ago that Atletico Madrid could finally break their voodoo jinx against cross-town rivals Real Madrid and overcome the curse they have been under since the start of the millennium. Under Diego Simeone, Los Rojiblancos have managed to beat Real Madrid twice in succession – at the Santiago Bernabeu, no less – and find themselves now three points clear at the summit of La Liga. That said, Los Blancos will have the opportunity to avenge their recent setbacks against the Copa del Rey holders when they meet them in the semi-final first-leg this evening.

Real Madrid might hold good numbers against Los Colchoneros, but they will want to avoid a replay of the last two games that pitted the two clubs together. Realising that they wasted a golden opportunity to leapfrog Barcelona in the standings after only settling for a draw against Athletic Bilbao at the weekend, fans will be demanding a win at the Santiago Bernabeu, as such a result will grant them an advantage to reach the final and could play a psychological role in league proceedings too.

Perfect Answer

With the passing of Atletico Madrid legend and Euro 2008-winning coach Luis Aragones, Atletico Madrid were keen to pay their respects on the pitch, especially with Barcelona losing against Valencia a day earlier and relinquishing the table’s leadership. That came in brilliant fashion, as a 4-0 drubbing of Real Sociedad allowed them to be sole leaders of the league, ensuring thus the best send-off for their former player and coach. Against Real Madrid in the cup, they will have to remember recent showings versus Los Merengues and take a big step towards retaining their Copa del Rey crown.

Despite recent triumphs over Real Madrid, midfielder Gabi still believes that his side will face tough opposition when they travel to the Bernabeu. 

“It's an opportunity that we have again, playing against one of the best teams in the world, to be in another final for two consecutive years is very complicated, but this team have achieved based on sacrifice, courage and bonding in the dressing room. Contesting the semi-final makes us more excited", declared the Atletico Madrid captain.

Undefeated in the last fifteen matches in the domestic cup, this fact will earn Atletico Madrid even more confidence as they prepare to endure a very hostile crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu.

mobile ad

Recent form

Real Madrid:
Real Madrid 2-0 Granada (25/01; La Liga)
Real Madrid 1-0 Espanyol (28/01; Copa del Rey)
Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Real Madrid (02/02; La Liga)

Atletico Madrid:
Rayo Vallecano 2-4 Atletico Madrid (26/01; La Liga)
Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Atletico Madrid (29/01; Copa del Rey)
Atletico Madrid 4-0 Real Sociedad (02/02; La Liga)

Key absences

Real Madrid: Sami Khedira

Atletico Madrid: Filipe Luis; Oliver Torres; David Villa; Tiago (doubt)  

Players to watch

Real Madrid – Cristiano Ronaldo: The Portuguese’s night against Athletic Bilbao ended unceremoniously as he received his matching orders after an altercation with the Basques’ Carlos Gurpegui. While he is set to play this game as the red card will only affect games in La Liga, a good showing on his behalf will be crucial as he hopes to erase recent nightmares against Atletico Madrid.

Atletico Madrid – Diego: The Brazilian playmaker returns to the club after a forgetful spell with Wolfsburg in Germany. The former Santos prodigy was on the scoresheet in his first game back, and a good showing against Real Madrid will only cement the validity of his transfer.

Match Prediction

Real Madrid would have wanted to tackle this game on the back of a win in the Basque country. That said, they know that they cannot afford a third consecutive loss to Atletico Madrid, especially with Los Rojiblancos on cloud nine at the moment. Expect a draw at the end of the game, with the final qualification ticket to be disputed at the Vicente Calderon.

Fancy a bet tonight? Make sure you pay Inside Bet a visit first!

mobile ad