Madrid : Atletico Madrid virtually booked their tickets for the Spanish King’s Cup final Thursday by thrashing Racing Santander 4-0 in a one-sided semi-final first leg.
Santander, who have never reached the final, now need a football miracle in the second leg next Thursday.
“We have really taken the cup seriously this year,” said Atletico captain Antonio Lopez.
“Everything went right for us tonight,” he added, “and the fans were just wonderful, really getting behind us.”
Simao volleyed Atletico ahead after just 10 minutes, then Jose Antonio Reyes made it 2-0 just before half-time, after some appalling defending from the visitors.
Reyes then limped off with a twisted knee, but Atletico were far from finished.
In the 62nd minute they were given a dubious penalty for a foul by Toni Moral that seemed to be outside the area. Diego Forlan calmly put away the spot-kick.
Nine minutes later man-of-the-match Sergio Aguero was mindlessly pulled down by Marc Torrejon for a second penalty, and Forlan made it 4-0 with his second spot-kick success.
Atletico have not reached the final since 2000, and have not won the trophy since 1996.
In Wednesday’s other semi-final first leg, Sevilla beat Getafe 2-0 thanks to a headed goal from Luis Fabiano and an own goal from Mario Alvarez.