Atletico Madrid’s disappointing season on Thursday hit a new low with a 2-1 loss to third-tier Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa in the Copa del Rey.
Atletico relinquished a late lead and then conceded early in extra-time to be eliminated in the round-of-32.
Atletico had not been eliminated from the Copa as early since losing to Albacete Balompie at the same stage in 2011-2012, just before they hired coach Diego Simeone. That was the last time Atletico fell to a third-tier club in the competition.
Leonesa’s French goalkeeper Lucas Giffard made a series of outstanding saves throughout the match, before Sergio Bonito scored an 108th-minute winner to put the small club from the northwestern city of Leon into the round-of-16 for the first time since 1959-1960.
Leonesa were eliminated by Barcelona in last year’s round-of-32.
“We had our chances, but their goalkeeper had a fantastic night. They played with ambition,” Simeone said. “This competition doesn’t allow for any mistakes.”
The crowd of nearly 13,000 at the Estadio Reino de Leon erupted after Benito scored with a shot from inside the penalty area after the Atletico defense was caught out of position following a fast counterattack.
Angel Correa had given Atletico the lead with a left-footed shot from near the penalty spot after a nice one-touch pass by Joao Felix in the 62nd minute.
The hosts equalized with an 83rd-minute volley by Julen Castaneda after Atletico goalkeeper Antonio Adan could not fully clear a cross into the penalty area.
Atletico, who were coming off a 2-0 loss at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar in La Liga, failed to advance despite playing with many of their regular starters.
“We have no other option other than to keep working,” Simeone said. “I have a great squad and the results will come soon.”
Elsewhere, RC Celta de Vigo were upset 2-1 by CD Mirandes after extra-time, while Eibar lost 3-1 to CD Badajoz. CD Leganes advanced with a 1-0 win over third-tier CD Ebro, while Real Betis Balompie lost to Rayo Vallecano de Madrid 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw. Betis equalized late in regulation and Vallecano forced the shoot-out late in extra-time.
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