MADRID (AP) – An early goal by Radamel Falcao helped Atletico Madrid to a 2-0 home win against Real Betis in the quarterfinals of the Copa de Rey on Thursday.
Atletico, which is unbeaten at its Vicente Calderon stadium this season, piled the pressure on early and Diego Godin nearly broke through when he headed just wide in the sixth minute of the first-leg match.
Falcao opened the scoring with a close-range header from Raul Garcia's cross in the 11th minute.
Filipe Luis added Atletico's second when he pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area to fire home in the 23rd.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saved Atletico four times in succession in the 28th minute, and again in the 48th from a Betis counter-attack.
"We knew that Betis were going to pressure us in the second half," Atletico captain Gabi tol Telecinco. "But we played a great first half and we were able to hold on to the advantage and get a very good result," the midfielder added.
"I think it's still 50-50, we have to go to their stadium and they are playing very well but we will work hard to get through."
The second leg will be played Jan. 24.