FERNANDO TORRES stole the show with a dramatic double as Atletico Madrid secured a battling 2-2 draw with Real Madrid at the Bernabeu last night to dump the holders out of the Copa Del Rey 4-2 on aggregate.
Back at his boyhood club on loan after seven and a half years of mixed fortunes in England and Italy, Torres stunned the home fans with a goal in the first minute of each half.
Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo twice headed the home side level but Atletico, who won last week’s last-16 first leg at the Calderon 2-0, comfortably held out to set up a quarter-final clash against Barcelona.
“The fact that we scored so early meant we could play the game we wanted,” said a delighted Torres, who was substituted just before the hour mark. “We never felt the tie was in danger and we weren’t under stress,” added the former Liverpool and Chelsea forward.
“I was smiling when I came off because of the win and for scoring my first two goals (since I returned to Spain) and also for doing it in a stadium where I hadn’t managed it before.” Real fans had evoked cherished memories of previous Cup fightbacks in the run-up to their latest derby against Atletico but their chances of turning the tie around were dealt a stinging blow after only 46 seconds.
Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann sped down the left and sent over a perfect cross for Torres (below) to lash a left-foot shot high into the net past goalkeeper Keylor Navas. Real came storming back and Ramos, the hero of last season’s Champions League final victory over Atletico, made it 1-1 when he headed in a Toni Kroos free kick in the 20th minute.
Ronaldo, who paraded the FIFA Ballon d’Or award before the kick-off, and Marcelo both missed chances before before Torres struck again less than a minute into the second half. The 30-year-old Spain international picked up another pass from Griezmann on the left of the penalty area and turned inside Pepe before sending a low shot into the net off Navas.
Gareth Bale crossed for Ronaldo to head home Real’s second eight minutes later but that was as good as it got for the home team.