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Atletico Madrid back in Copa del Rey semifinals 7 years later. VAR denies stoppage-time penalty for Sevilla

MADRID: Seven years later, Atletico Madrid is back in the Copa del Rey semifinals.

Memphis Depay scored in the second half and video review called back a penalty for Sevilla in stoppage time as Atletico held on for a 1-0 victory Thursday to reach the last four for the first time since 2017.

Atletico join Athletic Bilbao, Mallorca and Real Sociedad in the semifinals. The matchups, which will be played on home-and-away series, will be determined on Friday.

“We expected a tight match like this, with few scoring chances, but in the end we found a way to break through and get the victory, which is the only thing that matters,” Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak said. “Hopefully we can win this Copa title again after so many years.”

Sevilla thought they had a chance to send the match into extra time when Érik Lamela was brought down inside the area by Pablo Barrios five minutes into stoppage time, but the referee was called by video review and eventually determined there was no foul.

“It was a tough match, a lot of things happened,” Sevilla defender Marcao said. “If I say what I think here, I’ll be suspended for two or three months.”

The loss dealt another blow to Sevilla, who were coming off a 5-1 defeat to Girona in the Spanish league, where they sit just outside the relegation zone. They have lost eight of their last 11 matches in all competitions.

Sevilla coach Quique Sanchez Flores said the match shouldn’t have been played after three Sevilla fans died in a car accident on their way to Madrid earlier Thursday. The coach appeared in the post-match news conference but said he would not talk about the match, only send his condolences.

“We lost on a day in which we are mourning the loss of these fans who were coming to the match,” he said. “I don’t feel like making any analysis about the game.”

Atletico extended their unbeaten run at home to 26 matches, since a 1-0 loss to Barcelona last January.

Diego Simeone’s team, seeking their first Copa title since 2013, eliminated defending champions Real Madrid in the round of 16 of the Copa this season. They were ousted by the rival in the quarterfinals last year.

Depay came off the bench in the 66th and scored the winner in the 79th after a nice move by Angel Correa to get past a defender and feed the ball to his teammate inside the area. Correa had also entered the match in the 66th, replacing Antoine Griezmann.

Griezmann, who recently became Atletico’s all-time leading scorer, had missed a 26th-minute penalty kick when he slipped and sent his shot from the spot way over the crossbar. The France international also had a goal disallowed for offside in the 60th. Depay had a goal called back for offside in the 68th.

Veteran Sevilla defender Sergio Ramos had a clear chance to equalize in the 85th but missed the open net from close range after a hard cross from the right side. The former Real Madrid player, who was often jeered by the Atletico fans at the Metropolitano, also had a chance with a header early in stoppage time.

Sevilla have been in an extended slump, with one victory in their last 15 Spanish league matches. They had also been eliminated in the Copa quarterfinals last season, losing to eventual runner-up Osasuna.

On Wednesday, Athletic Bilbao eliminated Barcelona 4-2 in extra time to make it to the Copa semifinals, while Spanish league leader Girona lost 3-2 to Mallorca.

On Tuesday, Real Sociedad defeated Celta Vigo 2-1 to reach the last four for the first time since winning the competition four seasons ago.

The two-legged semifinals will be played in February. There were single-elimination games until now.

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