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Atletico hold the advantage

Atletico Madrid claimed a 2-1 victory over Sevilla in an incident-packed Copa del Rey semi-final first leg on Thursday night.

Last Updated: 31/01/13 at 23:43    Bet with SkyBet  Spanish La Liga. Click here to bet.

Diego da Silva Costa celebrates for Atletico Madrid

Diego da Silva Costa celebrates for Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid claimed a 2-1 victory over Sevilla in an incident-packed Copa del Rey semi-final 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 were awarded their 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 Wednesday night's first leg.

Bet with SkyBet  Spanish La Liga. Click here to bet.

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

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Wenger hails important win

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s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

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