La Liga Round: Atlético end skid with victory in Copa del Rey

La Liga Round: Atlético end skid with victory in Copa del Rey

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — It was a modest win against a lesser rival but coach Diego Simeone will at least be relieved to avoid further embarrassment in the Copa del Rey before Atletico Madrid face off during the World Cup break. Try to adjust.

Atletico ended a five-game winless streak in the first round of the Spanish Cup on Saturday after Angel Correa and Joao Felix’s 2-0 defeat at fifth-placed Almazan.

Simeone will now have six weeks to organize his squad – which is coming off one of its worst seasons since the Argentine took charge more than a decade ago – before club play resumes in late December . Atletico are fifth in the Spanish league and 13 points behind leaders Barcelona and out of European competition altogether after finishing last in their Champions League group.

Correa opened the scoring in the 35th when he finished off a shot by Felix that was blocked by goalkeeper Alberto Gonzalez.

Felix scored the second goal in the 63rd to put him beyond doubt.

Atletico have been upset by lower-tier opponents in two of the last three seasons, and Simeone hasn’t watered down his team. Portugal’s Felix, France’s Antoine Griezmann, Spain’s Marcos Llorente and Cook Resurrecion, Argentina’s Nahil Molina and Belgium’s Axel Witsel all started. Uruguay’s Jose Gimenez and Argentina’s Rodrigo de Paul came on as substitutes at the start of the second half.

Almazan, a club from a small town of 5,000 inhabitants in a sparsely populated region of central northern Spain, played the match half an hour away in a borrowed stadium in the provincial capital of Surria. The list of daily jobs for Diamond players included shepherd, woodcutter, chicken keeper, singer and tai chi teacher.

There is no depression

Villarreal had the biggest win of the night, beating sixth-placed Santa Amalia 9-0, while Mallorca won 6-0 at Otol.

Elche, who are in last place and are winless in the Spanish league after 14 rounds, got their first win of the season after beating Alcora 3-0.

Osasuna, Espanyol and Valladolid also won against lower-tier opponents.

Sunday’s Copa del Rey matches will be Spain’s last before the World Cup.

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