MADRID, Spain, January 19 – Atletico Madrid’s season went from bad to worse on Wednesday as they were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Real Sociedad.
A comfortable 2-0 victory for La Real propelled them into the quarter-finals while Atletico need to beat Manchester United in the Champions League round of 16 to have any chance of salvaging their season.
Diego Simeone’s side are effectively excluded from the La Liga title race given that they are 16 points behind Real Madrid and were beaten by Athletic Bilbao last week in the semi-finals of the Spanish Super Cup.
The Copa del Rey appeared to be their only realistic chance at silverware, but instead they were beaten convincingly at the Reale Arena, where goals from Adnan Januzaj and Alexander Sorloth were enough to see the game through. Basque team.
“Last season was magnificent and this season is proving to be very difficult,” said Simeone. “The opportunities are there, we have the championship and the Champions League.”
Atletico Madrid have now won just two of their last eight games in all competitions. In the league, they have recorded just one in seven clean sheets.
“The only way to improve is to help the players, to give them confidence and peace of mind in this time when the situation is complicated,” said Simeone. “The dynamic is not good but let’s think positively. I am an optimist and I believe in my players.
Atletico’s Januzaj and Yannick Carrasco both hit the post early before Januzaj put Real Sociedad ahead in the 33rd minute when he somehow squirmed past three Atletico defenders to head towards the pole.
A more sloppy defense then gave the hosts a second as Felipe made a disastrous attempt to light the ball as he was Atleti’s farthest man, and Sorloth stole it from him before passing to finish.
Real Sociedad join Mallorca, Rayo Vallecano, Cadiz, Valencia and Real Betis in the quarter-finals, with Real Madrid taking on Elche and Barcelona playing Athletic Bilbao on Thursday.