Madrid: Fernando Torres stole the show with a dramatic double as Atletico Madrid secured a battling 2-2 draw at Real Madrid on Thursday that dumped the holders out of the King’s Cup 4-2 on aggregate.
Back at his boyhood club after seven years of mixed fortunes in England and Italy, Torres stunned the Bernabeu with a goal in the first minute of each half of the last 16, second leg. It was the first time he has scored against Real at their giant arena in the Spanish capital.
Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo twice headed the home side level but Atletico, who won last week's last-16 first leg at the Calderon 2-0, comfortably held out to set up a quarter-final clash against record winners Barcelona.
A second-string Barca were far too strong for La Liga rivals Elche and a 4-0 victory wrapped up a thumping 9-0 aggregate success for Luis Enrique's side.
"The fact that we scored so early meant we could play the game we wanted," Torres, who was substituted just before the hour, said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster Canal Plus.
"We never felt the tie was in danger and we weren't under stress," added the former Liverpool and Chelsea forward.
"I was smiling when I came off because of the win and for scoring my first two goals (since I returned to Spain) and also for doing it in a stadium where I hadn't managed it before."
Real fans had evoked cherished memories of previous cup fightbacks in the run-up to their latest derby against Atletico but their chances of turning the tie around were dealt a stinging blow after 46 seconds.
Atletico's France forward Antoine Griezmann sped down the left and sent over a perfect cross for Torres to lash a left-foot shot high into the net past goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
Real came storming back and Ramos, the hero of last season's Champions League final victory over Atletico, made it 1-1 when he headed in a Toni Kroos free kick in the 20th minute.
Ronaldo, who presented the FIFA Ballon d’Or award he won this week to fans before kickoff, and Marcelo each had chances before the break but Torres struck again moments into the second period.
The 30-year-old Spain international, in the starting lineup in place of ailing Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic, picked up another pass from Griezmann on the left of the penalty area and turned inside Pepe before sending a low shot into the net off Navas.
Gareth Bale crossed for Ronaldo to head home eight minutes later but that was as good as it got for Real and their talismanic Portugal forward.
The other quarter-finals feature Malaga against Athletic Bilbao, Espanyol against Sevilla and Villarreal against Getafe. The first legs are next week and the return games the following week....