Valencia coach offered King's Cup reprieve on Atlético slip-up
"It's clear that the season is not over for us with this King's Cup elimination," said Ismael Gómez Falcón, goalkeeper for Atlético de Madrid.1 February 2008
MADRID - "It's clear that the season is not over for us with this King's Cup elimination," said Ismael Gómez Falcón, goalkeeper for Atlético de Madrid, after Valencia passed into the tournament semifinals over the capital city team Wednesday night on away goals. "Now we can get more focused on the league, because we are in a Champions League position, as well as in the UEFA Cup."
The rather flippant manner with which the Cup elimination was treated within Atlético's ranks is in stark contrast to how elimination from the tournament - which probably represents coach Ronald Koeman's last chance at saving face and his job - would have been treated at Valencia.
With the exception of his five previous Cup games, all wins, Valencia coach Ronald Koeman has essentially not stopped losing games - he has one win in 11 league games to his name as well as the boot from the Champions League. He lost again Wednesday to Atlético 3-2. But thanks to his 1-0 lead in the first leg, along with the double weight given to away goals in case of a tie and Atlético's defensive errors (compensating for Valencia's own poor defence) the Dutch coach with the dismal record in every competition except this Spanish Cup has saved his skin. At least momentarily, he has succeeded in turning a losing moment into a winning one - or at least in buying himself a bit more time.
Atlético, in turn, while out of the King's Cup, is in fourth place in the Liga, and will enter the UEFA Cup round of 32 having finished first in its group last round. In fact, the only similarity between the two teams seems to be their equally poor defensive performance on Wednesday night.
[Copyright EL PAÍS / KELLY RAMUNDO 2008]
Subject: Spanish news