Friday morning saw the Spanish football federation hold the draw for the Copa del Rey’s round of 32. Unlike UEFA earlier this week, this draw went off without a hitch, and it will see Atlético Madrid face local side Rayo Majadahonda on Jan. 6.
Atlético have suffered multiple domestic cup embarrassments since its last deep run in the competition. Following a semifinal elimination in 2017, Atleti have been knocked out at the quarterfinal stage (Sevilla), the round of 16 (Girona), and the round of 32 (Cultural Leonesa and Cornellà).
With a league title push unlikely and considering the team’s inconsistent form in the Champions League in recent seasons, the Copa and the Supercopa de España (which will also be held next month) arguably represent Atlético’s best shot at silverware in 2021/22.
Majadahonda is a Madrid suburb and hosts Atlético’s training ground, the Cerro del Espino. Atleti’s reserve teams play matches there, as do third-tier Rayo Majadahonda. Rayo advanced to this round following twin 1-0 wins over Valencia-based CD Eldense and former top-flight club Málaga. Manager Abel Gómez, a former midfielder, made over 500 appearances during his playing days, including LaLiga stints with Murcia (2007/08), Xerez (2009/10), Granada (2011/12), and Córdoba (2014/15).