Atletico Madrid take on the visitors Athletic Bilbao in the first leg of Copa del Rey semifinals. The match will be played on Wednesday, February 7th at Metropolitano Stadium (Madrid).
Atletico will try to achieve success, but for now, everything is touch and go. The Mattress Makers have only been eliminated from one tournament so far - the Super Cup. Even there, unlike Barcelona, they put up a fight against Real, losing only in extra time. Moreover, they won their Champions League group (after embarrassing themselves the year before by finishing fourth in their group) - but who knows how their first knockout round match against Inter, the finalist from the previous cycle, will turn out? The situation in La Liga is also contradictory, where, on the one hand, there is a chance to eventually surpass Barcelona, but Atletico and Girona threaten to push the Madrid giant out of the top four. Diego Simeone and his players are closest to success in the Copa del Rey. By beating, albeit with difficulty, Sevilla, they reached the semifinals for the first time in 7 years. And before facing Real Madrid, they took revenge on the Los Blancos, immediately after being eliminated from the Super Cup, following an identical scenario: a draw in regular time and a couple of goals past Lunin in extra time.
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Atletico are historically rated much higher than their former capital affiliate. Suffice it to say that unlike the Mattress Makers, they have never been relegated from La Liga. However, lately, little has been going their way - perhaps except for Marcelino starting in Bilbao with a Super Cup victory. But he failed to lead his players back to the Euroarena. However, Valverde, who returned in the summer of 2022, finished last season in 8th place. But now it is quite realistic to claim a place in the top four - currently, there are 5 contenders for the 4th position, and nobody wants to be left out. In January, there were several disappointing setbacks like losing to Valencia and a goalless draw with Cadiz. In the cup, they managed to replicate the result of 2023, reaching the semifinals. But in doing so, they eliminated Barcelona in the quarterfinals. By the way, there was also a draw in regular time and a couple of goals in extra time, scored by the Williams brothers.
Last season brought minimum 1-0 victories for the Cholo Team. But in December, the Basques finally won, and quite convincingly, 2-0. In this match, the status of the Mattress Makers as the favorite of the pair is quite clear. But this is only the first match of an important round. So it's worth betting that this pivotal encounter will end with total under 2.5 goals.
Prediction for the match: Under 2.5 scored goals.