A second-string Atletico
Madrid missed a penalty and had a man sent off in a 2-1 defeat
at third-tier Albacete in their King's Cup last-32 first-leg
match on Thursday.
Coach Gregorio Manzano rested most of his first-choice
players at Albacete's Carlos Belmonte stadium and the fired-up
home side took the lead from the penalty spot in the 31st minute
after the referee ruled Alvaro Dominguez had handled the ball.
Atletico had a chance to level five minutes into the second
half when Juanfran was felled in the area by Albacete captain
Miguel Nunez Borreguero, who was shown a straight red card.
Spain Under-21 international Adrian sent his spot-kick over
the crossbar and Atletico's night took a turn for the worse 10
minutes later when Dominguez was dismissed for bringing down
Albacete forward Antonio Sanchez de la Calle.
Home defender Zurdo whipped the resulting free-kick over the
wall and into the corner of the net to make it 2-0 before Adrian
made the most of a defensive howler to pull a goal back 20
minutes from time.
Albacete, who have had a couple of stints in Spain's top
flight, have a famous majority shareholder in local hero Andres
Iniesta and their shirts carry the name of the Barcelona and
Spain playmaker's family wine business.
The Manchegan club will attempt to preserve their lead when
they visit the Spanish capital for the second leg at the end of
Atletico coach Manzano said he accepted Thursday's result
and was confident the team could turn the tie around at their
"Clearly because of the difference in divisions, Atleti were
the favourites but Albacete began with more intensity," Manzano
told a news conference.
Atletico's La Liga rivals Athletic Bilbao had a relatively
easy night at third-tier Real Oviedo in Thursday's later
kick-off, winning 1-0 thanks to an 11th-minute strike from
forward Oscar de Marcos, who also hit the post late on.
The remaining last-32, first-leg matches are next week.
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