A back-and-forth game filled with goals and suspense ended in a 3-3 draw and Copa del Rey elimination for Atlético Madrid, as Seydou Doumbia’s late equalizer sent Atlético out on away goals.
Atlético opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Nikola Kalinić put Atlético on the board as took up a perfect lofted pass from Godín and slotted past Gorka Iraizoz. But Diego Simeone’s men did not have control for long — in the 37th minute, Valery Fernández controlled with his chest from a clearance and the 19-year-old smashed a volley past Antonio Adán.
In the 58th minute, Juanfran gave up an unnecessary foul right outside the box, and an unmarked Stuani hit a powerful header past Adán to give the visitors their second away goal. Diego Godín fell to the ground right before the ball was played which caused confusion in the box. His plea to the referee for a foul was unsuccessful and the goal stood.
Shortly after, Simeone subbed on Antoine Griezmann to help shift the momentum and create chances. He made the right choice because Griezmann and his one-touch passing helped create Ángel Correa’s goal in the 66th minute. Correa was active prior to his goal, but got on the scoresheet after passing the ball into the back of the net.
Another goal was called back with 10 minutes after Santiago Arias was ruled offside. But in the 84th minute, Griezmann finished a half-volley from a lofted Thomas Lemar pass. With the Wanda booming, all Atlético needed to do was sit back and hold the lead.
The ecstasy of what seemed like the winner didn’t last long. In the 88th minute, Thomas Partey made an error in midfield and Girona broke. Doumbia’s first shot took two deflections and rolled into the bottom left corner.
The Copa was not Simeone’s first priority, which was evident by him resting some starters for the league match this Saturday against Huesca. As a team, los rojiblancos were able to attack formidably against Girona but were soft defensively. Add in muscular injuries to Saúl and Vitolo and you’ve got a pretty crummy Wednesday evening.
ATM XI: Adán; Arias, Giménez, Godín, Juanfran (Lucas 67’); Koke (Griezmann 61’), Saúl (Rodri 56’), Thomas P, Lemar; Correa, Kalinić.
Goals: Kalinić 12’ , Correa 66’, Griezmann 84’
GIR XI: Iraizoz; Ramalho, Espinosa, Muniesa, Porro; Granell (Pons 73’); Luiz, Valery, Lozano (Doumbia 68’); Stuani (Garcia 82’).
Goals: Fernández 37’, Stuani 60’, Doumbia 88’