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Atletico takes lead in Copa del Rey semi

Atletico Madrid claimed a 2-1 victory over Sevilla in an incident-packed Copa del Rey semifinal first leg that produced three penalties and three red cards in the second half.

Two spot kicks from home striker Diego Costa sandwiched a penalty from Sevilla hitman Alvaro Negredo as Atletico earned a narrow lead to take to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan for next month's second leg.

The men to see red were Sevilla duo Emir Spahic and Fernando Navarro, and Atletico defender Diego Godin.

Spahic was the first to go in the 48th minute, being shown a second yellow card after clumsily handling the ball as he fell in front of Costa in the area, with the Atletico striker slotting home the resulting penalty.

Atletico's lead and numerical advantage lasted just eight minutes though, as Godin was given a straight red card after Negredo's goal-bound chip over Thibaut Courtois struck the covering defender's hand.

Negredo, who had been linked with a move away from Sevilla on transfer deadline day, duly slotted home from 12 yards to make it 1-1.

Atletico was awarded its second penalty in the 70th minute in almost identical fashion to their first, with Navarro the man to handle the ball this time as he fell in front of Costa. The Brazilian striker went the same way with his penalty and again found the back of the net.

There was a third red card with five minutes remaining with Navarro dismissed after scything down Costa as he threatened to break clean through.

The winner of this match will play either Barcelona or Real Madrid in the final, with that tie level at 1-1 following last night's first leg.

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