Atletico Madrid cruised to a Copa del Rey final meeting with rivals Real Madrid after a 2-2 draw with Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pijuan gave them a 4-3 victory on aggregate.
The knowledge that their near neighbors would be awaiting in the final, following their win over Barcelona on Tuesday, appeared to spur Atletico on and within the first 30 minutes they had all-but put the tie beyond doubt.
Diego Costa scored inside 10 minutes and the prolific Radamel Falcao soon added a second that left the home side needing four goals to progress. That never looked like happening, despite Jesus Navas’ strike before half-time and a late consolation from Ivan Rakitic.
Already enduring a disappointing season, Sevilla’s frustrations exploded after the break as Gary Medel was given two quick-fire yellow cards and had to be dragged kicking and screaming off the field and Geoffrey Kondogbia followed suit in injury time.
The tie appeared finely poised with Atletico just holding a slender advantage from the first leg, but Costa quickly turned it strongly in favor of Diego Simeone’s side. The Brazilian showed fine skill and close control on the edge the box to evade the challenges of several defenders before firing low into the corner.
On 29 minutes, Falcao scored for his fourth game in succession to leave Sevilla with a mammoth task. Costa again played a massive part as he burst down the left and supplied a fine low cross that Falcao beat his marker to and fired past Beto in the Sevilla goal.
Sevilla kept trying to find a way back into the contest and reduced their arrears with a fine strike in the 39th minute. After receiving a pull-back from the left, Navas looked up and curled a delightful shot into the far corner to leave Thibaut Courtois with no chance in the Atletico goal.
But any slim hopes of a remarkable fight back were extinguished as Medel was booked twice in a matter of seconds and had to be restrained by teammates before eventually leaving the pitch and landing a kick on a chair on the side of the pitch.
Rakitic struck a precision shot into the bottom of the corner in the first minute of injury time to at least give Sevilla parity on the night, but their evening was ended in ignominious circumstances when Kondogbia landed a stamp on Diego Costa to leave the home side with nine men.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.