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12.02.2010 12:43

Morale booster for Atlético ahead of Barça

David Puig

Atlético Madrid are in the ideal mood for welcoming Barça after qualifying for their first Copa del Rey final in ten years. The last time the mattress-makers won the cup was when they beat Barça in 1996.

Atlético Madrid’s league form is leaving a lot to be desired, for they are 11 points adrift of European places in 12th place, but their morale was boosted last night by qualifying for the final of the Copa del Rey. Despite losing 3-2 at El Sardinero to Racing Santander, Quique Sánchez Flores’ side had a 4-0 win in the home leg to fall back on, and will face Sevilla in the final.

It has been a rotten season for the red and whites, who went out of the Champions League in the group stages. But with qualification for their 17th cup final assured, the side from Manzanares can turn their attention back to the Liga and to the UEFA Cup, where they start on February 18 against Galatasaray at the Vicente Calderón.

Making good the 4-0 lead

_OTO0613_.jpgAtlético Madrid were already as good as assured a final berth after winning 4-0 in the first leg, and there was to be no historic comeback for Racing Santander despite taking an early lead from a Varela own goal.

Two goals from Moratón and Jurado turned it around for Atlético Madrid, and it was game over. Racing’s late responses from Xisco and Tchité did little other than win back some honour.

Ten years on

The last time Atlético Madrid graced the Copa del Rey final was ten years ago against Espanyol, but the Catalans took the title with a famous 2-1 win against a demoralised side that had just been relegated to the second division. Tamudo and Sergio were on target for the parakeets, and Hasselbaink scored Atlético’s consultation game in injury time.

Double win

The last time the cup was won by Atlético Madrid was against Barça on April 10, 1996 at La Romareda. The side then managed by Radomir Antic won the final 1-0 with an extra time winner. Johan Cruyff’s side suffered injuries to both Celades and Guardiola and struggled without two key components. A few weeks later, Atlético Madrid secured the League title as well to complete a historic double.
Morale booster for Atlético ahead of Barça
Full strength against Barça
Quique Sánchez Flores has a full strength squad to face Barça this weekend. The Racing Santander match produced no injuries or bookings, while Reyes, who has recovered from a twisted ankle, started the match. Meanwhile, Pablo Ibáñez was able to train normally despite fracturing his nose in training last Saturday.

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