Sports Mole brings you live commentary of the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final at the Bernabeu as Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 3-0.
The first leg of the Copa del Rey
semi-final between Real Madrid
and Atletico Madrid
took place at the Bernabeu this evening.
An explosive first period ended with Real Madrid
1-0 ahead courtesy of a deflected strike from Pepe
The home side had their second just before the hour mark through Jese Rodriguez
, before another deflected effort from Angel di Maria
secured a three-goal advantage ahead of the second leg.
Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole
's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.
6.01pmEvening all! Our Copa del Rey semi-final coverage opens from the Bernabeu as Real Madrid welcome Atletico Madrid for the first leg. The clash is a re-run of last season’s final, when Atletico secured the trophy with a 2-1 win. That particular match was an explosive encounter with two players seeing red and I am expecting more of the same this evening. 6.04pmShould Atletico win this evening, it will be the first time that they have ever won three consecutive matches against Real Madrid. Their first came in the Copa final last year, before they won 1-0 in the Bernabeu in La Liga earlier this season. That particular win sent shockwaves around Spain and was a further demonstration of Atletico’s continued progress. 6.07pmThat said, the recent meetings have been dominated by Los Blancos. In fact, prior to the last two fixtures, Real Madrid had won each of the last 10 matches between the two sides. For a long time, there was one major force in the Spanish capital, but an incredible couple of years for Atletico has created a fascinating battle in this famous city. 6.10pmBREAKING TEAM NEWS: There is no Gareth Bale in the Real Madrid squad this evening as the Welshman continues to recover from injury. However, Cristiano Ronaldo is cleared to play despite a domestic suspension. Alvaro Arbeloa and Fabio Coentrao are also selected for the home side. Atletico have Arda Turan back from injury, while Diego also starts in midfield. 6.13pmTEAMS:
REAL: Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Modric, Alonso; Jese, Di Maria, Ronaldo; Benzema
ATLETICO: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Insua; Gabi, Koke; Turan, Diego, Garcia; Costa
6.16pmSo there we have it. Iker Casillas continues to play the cup competitions for Real Madrid, but there is no change to the front six that started at Athletic Bilbao. Atletico, meanwhile, welcome Diego into their XI after the Brazilian scored on his return at the weekend. Filipe Luis is still injured, meaning that Emiliano Insua starts at left-back. 6.19pmReal Madrid enter the match off the back of a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao at the weekend. That result left them in third position in the table on 54 points. Los Blancos have lost just twice in the league this season – against the current top two, Atletico and Barcelona. They are just three points from top position, which Atletico occupy after 22 matches. 6.22pmCarlo Ancelotti’s side struggled for consistency in the early part of the season, but that has not been the case in recent months. Los Blancos have not lost in any competition since that defeat against Barcelona at the end of October, while they have conceded just once in their last nine matches in all competitions. 6.25pmThe home side were paired with Olimpic de Xativa in the fourth round of the Copa del Rey and overcame the lower league side 2-0 aggregate, before advancing past Osasuna in the fifth round. The quarter-final stage paired them with Espanyol, but it was another straightforward win for the capital outfit as they advanced 2-0 on aggregate. 6.28pmIn total, Real Madrid have won the Copa del Rey on 18 occasions. The last of those came in the 2010/11 campaign, while they have also been runners-up 20 times. In previous years, the top sides in Spain have been guilty of prioritising other competitions over the Copa, but that has simply not been the case over the last three or four seasons. 6.30pmI touched on it earlier, but this is an indication of Real Madrid's domination over Atletico Madrid in previous years. It shows what incredible progress Atletico have made under Diego Simeone, who is now one of the hottest managers in Europe... 6.33pmReal Madrid head coach Ancelotti appears to have settled on a 4-3-3 formation in recent months, with Angel di Maria operating in an advanced central midfield role. That has allowed Bale (when fit), Ronaldo and Karim Benzema to all operate in the final third, while Luka Modric and Xabi Alonso have formed a defensive shield in midfield. At the moment, they look very strong. 6.36pmAtletico, meanwhile, are also fighting for success on all three fronts this season. The capital outfit breezed into the knockout stages of the Champions League, where they will face AC Milan in the last-16 stage, with boss Diego Simeone able to balance demands in Europe and in Spain. It certainly promises to be a successful season for Los Rojiblancos. 6.39pmAtletico’s 4-0 win over Real Sociedad at the weekend moved them top of the La Liga table for the first time in 18 years. They have matched Barcelona stride-for-stride this season and were able to capitalise on the current champions’ 3-2 defeat to Valencia at the Camp Nou. As it stands, Atletico are three points clear at the top of the table. 6.42pmSimeone’s side have won 18 of their 22 matches, drawing three times and losing just once – a defeat to Espanyol in the middle of October. That loss is the only time that they have been beaten in any competition this season, which is a demonstration of the task facing Real Madrid this evening. They have already shown that they have what it takes to win in the Bernabeu this season. 6.45pmIn terms of the Copa del Rey, Atletico overcame Sant Andreu 6-1 on aggregate in the fourth round, before moving past Valencia 3-1 on aggregate. They were paired with in-form Athletic Bilbao in the quarter-finals, and won 1-0 on their own patch before picking up a 2-1 success at San Mames. As it stands, they are the only side to beat Bilbao at home in all competitions this season. 6.48pmAtletico have not won La Liga since the 1995/96 season, while they have only finished in the top two twice since the 1990/91 season. It would be fair to say that the league remains their priority, but the chance to put one over on Real Madrid and retain the Copa del Rey makes this two-legged affair so fascinating. 6.51pm"Real Madrid will start as the favourite but that does not mean that they will be on the night, things are very different over two legs and both teams have the same possibilities,” were the words spoken by Simeone at a pre-match press conference. For so long Atletico have been the bridesmaid, but they are now threatening to become a major force in European football. 6.54pmReal Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, said in his press conference: “Tomorrow a different Real Madrid will play to the team that played Atletico in the league. I think we’re playing well and are confident at the moment, there is still room for improvement but I am happy with the team. We will have the support of our fans tomorrow which is always important. We have to try to keep a clean sheet and win the game.” 6.57pmPREDICTION: In short, I just cannot see either side losing this match this evening. Real Madrid will enter as the slight favourites on their own patch, but Atletico have already showed that they can win in the Bernabeu this season. I expect both teams to score, however, and will therefore back a 1-1 draw on this pulsating night in the Spanish capital. 0 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch ahead of kickoff. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. Let's hope that the game lives up to the pre-match billing. It is the home side get the action underway at the Bernabeu. 2 minIt must be said that there is a stunning atmosphere inside the stadium, which is not much of a surprise. It is worth nothing that Ramos, Jese, Casemiro, Koke and Diego Costa are all one booking away from missing the second leg. Los Blancos have taken control of the possession in the opening couple of minutes, with the fans in fine voice. 4 minIt has not taken long for Costa to put himself about with the Atletico forward clashing with Ramos and Arbeloa in the opening few minutes. Di Maria has possession down the other end moments later, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar. Can Clos Gomez keep all 22 players on the field for the entire 90 minutes? Already the challenges are flying in as Garcia clashes with Ramos. 6 minIt's good work from Juanfran as the Atletico right-back drives down the right before delivering a low cross into the box, but Ramos is on hand to clear. Los Blancos have possession moments later in midfield, but neither side has been able to create a clear opening thus far. As expected, however, the tempo is incredibly high. 8 minHalf-chance for Real Madrid as Arbeloa delivers a deep cross towards the far post, but Juanfran is on hand to head clear under pressure from Ronaldo. The home side continue to pass and probe outside the box and they force a corner when Koke turns a Di Maria cross behind. However, Miranda is on hand to clear with a powerful header. 10 minNot a great moment from Miranda as the Atletico centre-back slices a Di Maria cross behind for a corner. The resulting set piece causes concern in the Atletico box as Benzema rises, but Gabi is on hand to make a fine block. Real Madrid want a penalty, but the referee is not interested and the away side manage to clear the danger. 13 minReal Madrid's positive start continues as Jese gains a free kick on the right from Insua. The resulting set piece is delivered by Di Maria to Modric, but his effort is deflected wide. Atletico just cannot get out of their own half at the moment as the pressure continues from the home side. 15 minCHANCE! The first real chance of the match comes to Atletico as Turan meets a cross from Juanfran, but Casillas is on hand to make a fine save. Much better from Atletico in the last couple of moments, with Real Madrid guilty of some slack passing in the final third. 17 minThis is certainly not a match for the faint-hearted as both sets of players continue to tangle. However, the referee has allowed the match to flow thus far. Real Madrid have a half-chance as Coentrao delivers towards Benzema, but Miranda just does enough to ease the Frenchman out of the way. Still goalless, but plenty of intent from both. 17 minGOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 Atletico Madrid (Pepe) 18 minFirst blood to Real Madrid! The home side take the lead after 17 minutes as Pepe's effort from the edge of the box deflects off Insua and into the back of the net. Courtois could only watch it fizz into the corner. 21 minOne thing is for certain - that goal will not phase Atletico. It has been a good response in the last couple of moments with a period of possession in the Real Madrid half, but the home side stand strong in defensive areas. End-to-end football with 21 minutes on the clock as Pepe and Costa clash. It is bubbling very nicely! 23 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Atletico to level as Miranda meets a free kick from Gabi, but Casillas is on hand to save from close range. There was plenty of shirt pulling inside the box and Atletico arguably should have already had a couple of penalties. Moments later, Costa and Pepe clash once more. It is close to boiling over. 25 minThe first yellow card of the match is handed to Pepe as the Portuguese clashes with Costa - not for the first time. It has been a good spell for Real Madrid in the last couple of moments with Benzema and Arbeloa both having efforts blocked inside the Atletico box. What a match in the Bernabeu. 27 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments, but Real Madrid remain in control of the ball. The referee has set a marker by issuing that yellow card, but the challenges continue to arrive from both sides. The opening 27 minutes of this contest have just flown past. 30 minDiego becomes the first Atletico player to enter the book for a late challenge on Ronaldo after the ball had been played. It brings a furious reaction from the Real Madrid bench. You just get the feeling that something is about to boil over here. Another half-chance for Real Madrid as a strike from Di Maria deflects off Godin, but this time it moves high of the Atletico crossbar. 32 minThe intensity continues to rise as Turan lets out his frustration following a late challenge from Coentrao, which the referee ignores. Moments later, Koke dives into a late one with Pepe. Just the two yellow cards thus far, but it could have been a lot more. Every time a challenge is made, the home supporters are on the case of the referee. 34 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for the home side to score their second as Modric meets a high ball on the edge of the box, but Courtois is on hand to make the save. Real Madrid have certainly been the more threatening thus far. I think Pepe was pleased with his goal... 36 minRonaldo is involved at both ends as the Real Madrid forward produces a fine defensive header from a Gabi free kick before chasing a Jese through pass down the other end, but Courtois is out to collect. The free-kick count continues to rise, with the decisions going the way of Atletico at the moment. Little under 10 minutes of the half remaining. 38 minReal Madrid have a free kick just outside the Atletico box as Diego fells Di Maria, who had carried the ball all of 30 yards. The resulting set piece is taken by Ronaldo, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar. Still 1-0 Real Madrid with 38 minutes on the clock. 41 minAnother half-chance for the home side as Jese drives into the Atletico box before finding Ronaldo, but Godin manages to bundle it behind for a corner. The resulting set piece is delivered towards Ronaldo, but Miranda is on hand to clear. Atletico continue to come under pressure in the latter stages of the first period. 43 minDi Maria tries his luck for the home side as it falls to the Argentine outside the box, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar. Crosses continue to arrive in the Atletico box, but Miranda and Godin have been dominant in the air. Down the other end, Turan leaves a late one on Coentrao. 45 minHALF-TIME: Real Madrid 1-0 Atletico Madrid 7.47pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with Real Madrid leading courtesy of a deflected strike from Pepe. Atletico have had their moments in the Madrid half, but Los Blancos have been much the better side in the opening 45 minutes. 7.52pmSTATISTICS: Real Madrid have dominated the possession with 72%, while they have had 10 attempts - three of which have been on target - to Atletico's four. As expected, it has been a feisty half in terms of challenges, but the referee has issued just two yellow cards. 7.57pmBENCH WATCH: Real Madrid have a number of attacking options on their bench this evening in the shape of Alvaro Morata, Isco and attacking full-backs Marcelo and Daniel Carvajal. Meanwhile, Atletico have the likes of Adrian, Rodriguez and Jose Sosa in reserve. 46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. Just a reminder that nothing will be decided this evening with the second leg to come at the Calderon next week. Right, Atletico get the second 45 minutes underway in the Spanish capital. 48 minOne change for Atletico at the interval with Rodriguez entering the field in place of Diego. The away side feel that they should have had a penalty in the first period when Arbeloa appeared to rake the heel of Costa... 50 minIt has been a positive start to the half from Atletico with Juanfran and Insua both in advanced positions. Rodriguez has the chance to strike one from the edge of the box moments later, but Pepe makes the block. The resulting corner is delivered towards the near post, but Ramos clears. 52 minThe half-time interval has done nothing to quell the intensity as the challenges continue to arrive in the middle of the park. Gabi is late on Modric, but the referee takes no action. The away side have been the more inventive in the early stages of the second period, but have found it difficult to create clear opportunities thus far. 55 minHalf-chance for Ronaldo as the Portuguese finds some space inside the box before striking on goal, but Courtois is on hand to make the save. Los Blancos enjoy a period of possession moments later before Modric strikes on goal, but his effort is wide of the post. Still 1-0 with 55 minutes on the clock. 57 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments, but Real Madrid have started to enjoy more of the ball following a slow start to the second half. Coentrao threatens to meet a deep cross from Di Maria moments later, but Juanfran just does enough. Little over 30 minutes of football remaining at the Bernabeu. 57 minGOAL! Real Madrid 2-0 Atletico Madrid (Jese) 58 minReal Madrid have their second just before the hour mark as Jese pokes a Di Maria cross into the back of the net from close range. The youngster has been just terrific this evening. 61 minIn truth, it does not really flatter Real Madrid, who have been the better side this evening. Number three almost arrives as Di Maria strikes one from outside the box, but Courtois makes the save. Los Blancos are in control of proceedings with 61 minutes on the clock. 63 minCosta picks up his usual booking as the Atletico forward clashes with Di Maria. That means that the Spanish international will miss the second leg next week. The referee has done well to keep all 22 players on the field. Atletico make their second change moments later as Turan is replaced by Adrian Lopez. 65 minInsua is lucky not to pick up a yellow card as the Atletico left-back dives into a poor challenge with Jese. The resulting free kick is taken by Di Maria, but his delivery is cleared for a corner. Moments later, the referee is forced to intervene following a clash between Ramos and Godin. It is threatening to boil over. 67 minReal Madrid threaten with another free kick as Modric delivers into the Atletico box, but Garcia is on hand to clear the danger. Di Maria wins back possession moments later, before gaining another free kick from Garcia. Once more, the referee is called into action at the Bernabeu. 70 minAtletico just cannot get out of their own half at the moment as the home side continue to slow the match in the final third. It has been a really impressive performance from the home side, who have not allowed their rivals a spell of pressure. Another corner is delivered by Di Maria, but Godin is on hand to clear the danger. You just get the feeling that we have not seen the last of the goals. 72 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Real Madrid to score their second as Pepe meets a cross from Di Maria, but his effort just moves wide of the post. Moments later, Atletico make their third and final change with Sosa replacing Garcia. 73 minCHANCE! Strong work from Costa gains Atletico a corner as they manage to ease some of the pressure. Both centre-backs arrive in the Real Madrid box and Godin meets the delivery, but Modric is on hand to clear off the line. 73 minThe home side make their first change of the match with little over 15 minutes remaining as Morata enters the field in place of Benzema, who has struggled to influence proceedings this evening. 73 minGOAL! Real Madrid 3-0 Atletico Madrid (Di Maria) 74 minThe home side score their third of the evening as Di Maria's effort deflects off Miranda and into the bottom corner. It is so cruel on Atletico. 76 minReal Madrid have been very impressive this evening, but they have had two big slices of luck there is no question about that. You just get the feeling that Atletico need to score an away goal in order to keep this tie alive. Another goal for the home side, however, and it could be curtains. 79 minThe referee continues to take centre stage as Juanfran is booked for a late challenge on Morata, who has been impressive since entering the field. The home side deliver another free kick into the Atletico box through Modric, but Godin is on hand to clear the danger. Little over 10 minutes of the first leg remaining in Madrid. 81 minHalf-chance for the away side on the counter as Adrian bursts into the Real Madrid box, but Arbeloa is across to make a fine challenge at the vital moment. One goal for Atletico would hand them hope in the second leg, which takes place next week. The free-kick count continues to rise, but this time Atletico have the chance to threaten. 83 minThe home side make their second change of the match as Di Maria is replaced by Illarramendi, who will provide a shield in the middle of the park. Atletico threaten with a deep free kick from Koke moments later, but Miranda is in an offside position. Little over five minutes of normal time remaining. 86 minNeither side has been able to put together any sort of pressure in the last couple of moments due to the number of late challenges that continue to occur. The home side make their third and final change moments later as Jese is replaced by Isco. As expected, the former receives an incredible ovation as he leaves the field. 88 minHalf-chance for the home side as Ronaldo finds some space outside the box, but his effort is saved by Courtois. Isco picks up the pieces, but his effort is blocked. You just get the feeling that there is one more goal in this match. It could decide the tie ahead of the second leg. 90 min+1Opportunity for Ronaldo to get among the goals as Miranda fells Morata just outside the box. The resulting effort is taken by Ronaldo, but he strikes straight into the wall. Just a reminder that following this match we have action from Barcelona against Real Sociedad - be sure to remain with us for that. 90 min+3The fourth official has indicated an additional three minutes and we are indeed into the third of those. Not too much to report with Real Madrid in control of the possession. 90 min+3CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Morata to make it four as the Spaniard meets a low cross from Ronaldo, but his effort is just wide of the post. 90 min+3FULL-TIME: Real Madrid 3-0 Atletico Madrid 8.51pmSo there we have it. Real Madrid pick up a 3-0 win over Atletico in the first leg. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to remain with us for Barcelona against Sociedad. Until then!