Vinícius scores, Madrid beats Atletico in extra time in Copa
MADRID (AP) — Just hours after being the target of an apparent hate crime, Vinicius Junior scored in extra time to help Real Madrid come from behind and beat 10-man Atletico Madrid 3-1 on Thursday to secure a spot in the Copa del Rey semifinals.
The buildup to the game between the two fierce rivals was marred after a dummy of Vinícius was hanged from a highway bridge early Thursday, along with a banner with the words “Madrid hates Real,” drawing condemnation by both clubs and soccer officials across the nation.
Vinicius, who was also targeted by racist chants from Atletico supporters earlier this season, responded by sealing Madrid's victory late in extra time of an intense, back-and-forth match. Karim Benzema had put Madrid ahead in the first half of the added period with his seventh goal in seven matches since the World Cup.
It was a peaceful atmosphere among fans inside the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, and the few hundred Atletico supporters who had tickets for the match celebrated early as Álvaro Morata put their team ahead in the first half. But substitute Rodrygo equalized for the hosts late in the second half to force extra time.
Atletico played most of extra time with 10 men after defender Stefan Savic was sent off with a second yellow card with the game still tied 1-1.
Atletico was trying to beat Madrid away for the first time since 2016.
Madrid is back in the Copa semifinals for the first time since 2018-19, having last won the competition in 2013-14. It was eliminated by Athletic Bilbao in the quarterfinals last season.
Atletico was trying to reach the last four for the first time since 2016-17. Its last Copa title was won in 2012-13 in a final against Madrid.
Madrid struggled to break through the Atletico defense early on, and the visitors were a constant threat on counterattacks.
Morata, a former Madrid player, put Atletico ahead from close range after a cross from the right by Nahuel Molina in the 19th. Rodrygo equalized with a neat run in the 79th, getting past four Atletico defenders before firing a shot from inside the area past goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
Benzema, who had to leave France's Word Cup squad because of an injury sustained just before the tournament, scored with a low shot from inside the area in the 104th minute, and Vinícius found the net to secure the victory after a breakaway just before the end.
Defender David Alaba was back in Madrid’s squad but Aurélien Tchouaméni and Eden Hazard were not available for coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Athletic Bilbao reached the semifinals for the fourth straight season with a 3-1 win at Valencia.
Iker Muniain, Nico Williams and Mikel Vesga scored for the Basque Country club, which was runner-up both in 2020 and 2021 and lost to Valencia in last season’s semifinals.
Valencia, which lost last year’s final to Real Betis, has been struggling recently, with only one win in its last five matches in all competitions. The team coached by Gennaro Gattuso had made it 1-1 thanks to an own-goal by Athletic defender Óscar de Marcos.
On Wednesday, Barcelona edged Real Sociedad 1-0 and Osasuna defeated Sevilla 2-1 in extra time to make it to the semifinals for the first time since reaching the final in 2005.
The draw for the semifinals will be on Monday.
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Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press