Real Madrid advanced to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey by beating city rivals Atletico Madrid 3-1 after extra time on Thursday night.
Karim Benzema was Real Madrid’s hero as Los Blancos completed an extra-time comeback to vanquish rivals Atletico Madrid 3-1 in the Copa del Rey quarter-final.
Former Real Madrid man Alvaro Morata put the away side ahead midway through the second half, sending the 600 or so Atletico fans that made it into the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu wild.
Real Madrid struggled to get themselves level, but a moment of magic from Rodrygo restored parity as the Brazilian slalomed through the Atletico defence to bag the equaliser and force extra time.
From there, Stefan Savic was sent off and Benzema stepped up to effectively send Los Blancos into the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, before Vinicius Jr put the icing on the cake with the third late on.
Real Madrid fans expected their team to come out of the blocks firing on all cylinders, especially after the disgusting episode involving the hanging of a Vinicius Jr effigy prior to the game.
However, it was the visitors who seemed to find their feet first, not being overawed by the occasion, and after just 19 minutes they took the lead.
Angel Correa fired a warning shot after 17 minutes after he latched onto a perfect pass on the edge of Real Madrid’s penalty area.
The Argentine shot the ball goalwards, but it fizzed just wide of the left post.
This warning wasn’t taken on board as Los Merengues fell behind just two minutes later.
Alvaro Morata was quickest to react to a pass from Nahuel Molina and was able to fire the ball into the net from close range.
It was a moment that stunned Real Madrid into action, and within 10 minutes they almost drew level through Eder Militao.
The Brazilian was left unmarked from a free-kick and had a chance to shoot from close-range, however he sent his shot embarrassingly high over the crossbar.
It was a half of few chances with both teams having registered just one shot on target each, highlighting the lack of penetrative quality in this latest edition of the Madrid derby.
The second-half didn’t improve, and it took until the 58th minute for Karim Benzema to breathe some life into the cup tie.
He received the ball under pressure on the edge of the penalty area, controlling it well, before turning and firing a shot towards Jan Oblak.
It was a moment of individual brilliance, yet the Slovenian goalkeeper was able to turn the ball around the left post whilst at full-stretch.
Antonio Rudiger then missed a headed opportunity from another free-kick, with Atleti struggling to deal with Los Merengues’ set-pieces.
The German nodded the ball towards the direction of the goal, but it was way wide of the target.
It was then Thibaut Courtois’ turn to leave their mark on the match, making a fine save from an Antoine Griezmann free-kick, albeit it was one he should have made.
Diego Simeone’s charges looked to be on their way to a shock victory at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, however conceding a late goal to their local rivals occurred once again.
With 10 minutes left the hosts sent the game into extra-time, with Rodrygo Goes making a sensational individual run with the ball at his feet, reaching the penalty area before curling a strike into the bottom corner of the net.
Atleti seemed to be willing to hang on for the additional 30 minutes, although Griezmann spurned a late chance to steal the victory.
He wriggled free inside the penalty area, but fired a shot narrowly over the top of Courtois’ goal.
The match exploded in extra time with changes for both as the game turned frenetic.
Savic made life difficult for his Atletico teammates after being handed two yellow cards in quick succession, thus being sent off.
Then just before the break in extra time, Benzema was in the right place at the right time to slam home a low Asensio cross which managed to make its way to the back post.
Memphis Depay had a brilliant chance to level, but from close range he side-footed straight at Courtois.
But after the controversy before the game Vinicius Jr got his goal at the death to wrap up the game for Real Madrid.
Real made their numerical advantage pay moments later when Karim Benzema finished clinically at the far post after a poor touch from Vinicius Junior had inadvertently set up his teammate.
This is the first year since 2019 that both Real and Barca have made the last four in Spain’s national cup competition.
Real have not won the Copa del Rey since 2014.
Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna will also be in the semi-final draw.