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Atlético to meet Athletic in Copa del Rey semifinal

The two-legged semifinal begins in Madrid on Feb. 7.

Athletic Club v Atletico Madrid - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Ion Alcoba Beitia/Getty Images

Atlético Madrid have made it to the Copa del Rey semifinals for the first time since 2017, and Los Colchoneros will take on Athletic Club for a place in April’s final.

Atlético emerged from Friday’s draw paired with arguably the toughest team remaining in this year’s edition of the Copa del Rey. Athletic eliminated FC Barcelona in Wednesday’s quarterfinal, winning 4-2 after extra time at a bouncing San Mamés, and will be playing Atlético in a domestic cup semifinal for the first time since 1975. The previous meeting this season saw Athletic drill Atlético in Bilbao on Dec. 16, a 2-0 win that was as easy as the scoreline suggested.

Atlético and Athletic have not met at all in the Copa del Rey since 2014, when Los Rojiblancos eliminated Los Leones with a 3-1 aggregate win in the quarterfinal stage. Athletic have won the Copa del Rey on 23 occasions but not since 1984. Atleti last won the Copa in 2013, its 10th cup conquest.

Copa del Rey semifinal part of a challenging February for Atlético

Atlético will host the first leg of this Copa del Rey semifinal at the Cívitas Metropolitano on Wednesday, Feb. 7. The second leg at San Mamés comes just over three weeks later, on the night of Feb. 29.

Preceding this pair of games will be a derby against Real Madrid (Feb. 4) that could be rescheduled, as Athletic play Mallorca on Friday, Feb. 2 and would have 48 hours more to rest before the semifinal first leg than Atlético — which would arguably create an unfair advantage for the Basque side.

Los Rojiblancos will travel to Italy to face Inter Milan in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Feb. 20 and have further away games against Sevilla (Feb. 11) and Almería (Feb. 25) during this stretch. Dating back to Atlético’s victory in this competition’s round of 16 back on Jan. 18, the second leg of the Athletic tie will be the 12th game in just 43 days for Diego Simeone’s men.

The complete semifinal draw

RCD Mallorca vs Real Sociedad Club de Fútbol

Club Atlético de Madrid vs Athletic Club