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Atletico Madrid knocked out of Copa del Rey

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La Liga leaders, Atletico Madrid suffered a shock defeat in the second round of the Copa del Rey as they were knocked out by third division side UE Cornella on Wednesday.

Adrian Jimenez met a free kick on the volley to score the only goal of the game in the seventh minute, while Atletico had right back Ricard Sanchez sent off midway through the second half after earning two bookings in the space of 12 minutes.

Atletico boss Diego Simeone rested some players for the second-round tie, played on an artificial pitch, but still fielded a strong side containing record signing Joao Felix plus fellow first-team regulars Renan Lodi, Jose Gimenez, Saul Niguez, Felipe and Angel Correa.

But he was forced to take Gimenez off in the 11th minute when the Uruguayan defender picked up an ankle injury, whilst Felix also hurt his ankle and was removed late in the second half.

Atletico, who have lifted the trophy 10 times, most recently in 2013, were also knocked out of last year’s competition by a third division side, going down 2-1 away to Cultural Leonesa after extra time.

Madrid player, Saul admitted, “They played their game and they were better than us. We have to say sorry to our fans, we never want to go out of any competition but in the last couple of years these one-off games are not going well for us.”

Atletico coach, Simeone said, “We always want to win but today our opponents deserved to go through, just like last year. They competed well, they played the game they wanted to, they won the second balls, they kept up their intensity and we have to congratulate them as they overpowered us.”

Simeone also said cryptically that his side would try to make amends for their poor Cup performances “if we are still here next year”.

“Things change all the time in football, and you have to be open to all possibilities. I’m very happy here but you have to be open to whatever the club decides,” Simeone added.

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