Thu, Jan 12, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Atletico reach Copa del Rey quarter-finals, despite loss

AP, MADRID

Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, left, and UD Las Palmas’ Aythami Artiles vie for the ball during their Copa del Rey match at the Vicente Calderon in Madrid on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

Antoine Griezmann scored a goal the day after being named the world’s third-best player, helping Atletico Madrid reach the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey, despite a 3-2 home loss to UD Las Palmas on Tuesday.

The France forward missed training to attend FIFA’s awards ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland, where Cristiano Ronaldo took the vote as the best player, but Griezmann got back to Spain in time to help Atletico defend a 2-0 first-leg lead and advance 4-3 on aggregate at the Vicente Calderon.

Griezmann has scored in all three matches Atletico have played this year. He had not found the net in five straight games before the winter break. He was runner-up to Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at FIFA’s event on Monday.

Griezmann opened the scoring from close range in the 49th minute after a cross by Argentine midfielder Nicolas Gaitan. Las Palmas striker Marko Livaja equalized with a shot from inside the penalty area in the 57th and Argentine forward Angel Correa put the hosts ahead again after a counterattack in the 61st minute.

Livaja netted in the 89th minute before Mateo Garcia scored in stoppage-time to give Las Palmas victory on the night.

“We let the win escape in the final minutes, but we are happy that we advanced,” Correa said.

Atletico are trying to win the competition for the first time since 2012-2013, when they defeated Real Madrid in the final at the Santiago Bernabeu.

In addition to beating Las Palmas in the first leg last week, Atletico had also defeated the club from the Canary Islands in their final La Liga match before the winter break last month.

“We needed another goal there in the end,” Las Palmas defender David Garcia said. “We are happy with the way we played. We knew it was going to be difficult after the 2-0 loss at home.”

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