Copa del Rey: Atletico Madrid 2 Sevilla 1
By Football News
Two Diego Costa penalties saw Atletico Madrid defeat nine-man Sevilla 2-1 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final on Friday.
All three goals at Vicente Calderon came from the spot, after the referee had adjudged players from both sides to have handled in the area.
Alvaro Negredo replied for the visitors after Costa's opener, but Emir Spahic and Fernando Navarro were both dismissed either side of Diego Godin seeing red for the hosts.
Atletico were still without the injured Radamel Falcao and opted for Adrian Lopez to partner Costa up front, whilst the visitors opted for Negredo in a lone role.
Both sides were limited to very few chances in the opening stages of the match, Costa having the first shot off the game, but his effort was always going wide of Beto's goal.
Next to attack was Arda Turan, his free-kick sailing over the crossbar minutes later as the hosts began to get a hold of the game, but Sevilla were defending well.
The first real chance of the game came through Koke, but after brilliant work by Adrian, the midfielder could only shoot straight at Beto.
Negredo's shot from distance was acrobatically tipped over by Thibaut Courtois as the visitors ended the half on a high.
The opening goal came on the 48th minute through Costa's penalty. Spahic handled the ball in the area and was given his marching orders for a second yellow, allowing the Brazilian to put his side ahead from the spot.
But seven minutes later the sides were level through a Negredo penalty. It was a harsh decision as the ball bounced up onto Diego Godin's arm whilst preventing a goal-bound effort and he was also given a straight red for his troubles.
Ivan Rakitic's long-range effort went narrowly wide of Courtois's goal as the tempo of the game increased after the break.
Sevilla were starting to gain control of the game for the first time in the match, and were unlucky to go behind.
A third penalty was awarded after Fernando Navarro was adjudged to have handled in the area with 20 minutes remaining, and Costa duly despatched for his second of the game.
The match ebbed and flowed as the visitors looked for an equaliser, but persistent fouling from Sevilla saw Atletico awarded numerous free-kicks that started to kill time.
One last chance came from Mario Suarez but he headed wide from a Turan cross, meaning Atletico hold a slight advantage ahead of the second leg in a month's time.