It was a modest victory over a younger opponent, but coach Diego Simeone would have been relieved to at least avoid more embarrassment in the Copa del Rey before Atletico Madrid try to regroup during the World Cup break. .
ngel Correa and Joo Felix ended Atletico’s five-game winless run after beating fifth-tier Almazan 2-0 in the first round of the Spanish Cup on Saturday.
Simeone will now have six weeks to recover from his team – which is in one of its worst seasons since the Argentine took over more than a decade ago – when club play resumes at the end of December. before. Atletico are fifth in the Spanish league, 13 points behind leader Barcelona and completely out of European competitions after finishing last in their Champions League group.
Correa opened the scoring in the 35th when he eliminated a shot from Felix which was blocked by goalkeeper Alberto González.
Felix put it beyond doubt by scoring the second goal in the 63rd.
Atlético were troubled by lower-level opponents in two of the last three seasons, and Simeone did not let his team down. Portugal’s Felix, France’s Antoine Griezmann, Spain’s Marcos Llorente and Coke Resuracion, Argentina’s Nahuel Molina and Belgium’s Axel Vitsel all started. Uruguay’s Jose Jiménez and Argentina’s Rodrigo de Paul went on as substitutes at the start of the second half.
Almazán, a club from a small town of 5,000 residents in a sparsely populated region of central-northern Spain, hosted the match at a borrowed stadium in the provincial capital of Soria, half an hour away. The list of day jobs for Almazan players included a shepherd, a woodcutter, a chicken breeder, a singer, and a tai chi instructor.
Villarreal registered their biggest win of the night by beating sixth-tier Santa Amalia 9–0, while Mallorca won 6–0 at Autol.
Elche, who are ranked last in the Spanish league after 14 rounds and are not the winners, won their first win of the season after beating Alcora 3–0.
Osasuna, Espanyol and Valladolid also won against lower level opponents.
Sunday’s Copa del Rey games will be the last matches in Spain before the World Cup.
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