Atletico Madrid can bounce back vs. Sevilla in second leg - Saul Niguez
Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez said his team still believe they can turn the tie around, despite blowing a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 at home to Sevilla in Wednesday's Copa del Rey quarterfinal first leg at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Atletico dominated the opening stages, with Diego Costa heading into the net at a corner but the goal being disallowed by referee Jaime Latre and had another header saved by Sevilla keeper Sergio Rico, with the visitors also coming close when Rafael Correa and Sergio Escudero were denied by home custodian Miguel Angel Moya.
Sevilla had more possession after the break, although just as the Wanda Metropolitano was getting worried Costa appeared to put his side ahead by lashing home a low drive following pinball in the box at a corner.
But the Andalusians got an equaliser when substitute Jesus Navas' shot was deflected towards goal and only helped to the net by the diving Moya, and then went ahead with just two minutes remaining when a defensive mix-up allowed Wissam Ben Yedder to send Correa clear to finish very neatly.
Speaking on Gol TV after the final whistle, the Rojiblanco midfielder said his team had felt in control of the tie after Costa's goal, and still felt they could progress in next Tuesday's second leg at Sevilla's Sanchez Pizjuan.
"This was not at all what we wanted," Saul said. "We went for the second goal to try and kill the tie.
"Their equaliser was a bit of bad luck with the deflection. Then we must be more attentive with what happened in the second goal.
"There is still 90 minutes to play in Seville, and we still believe. Fair or not the result stands. We must think about going into the return game with a lot of motivation, knowing we can turn it around."
Saul said he had not seen anything wrong with the Costa header disallowed in the first half, with replays showing that perhaps Antoine Griezmann had slightly hampered Sevilla keeper Rico's attempt to come for a corner.
"On the pitch it looked legal," Saul said. "I don't know if outside you could see a foul or something, but we thought it was a totally legal goal."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan