Atletico without Costa in Copa decider

January 23, 2018
Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa, second right, goes for a header with teammate Jose Maria Gimenez, right, and Girona's Bernardo Espinosa, left, and Jonas Ramalho during their Spanish La Liga match against Girona at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on Saturday.

MADRID (AP):

Atletico Madrid will need to overcome the absence of Diego Costa in the decisive Copa del Rey match against Sevilla today.

Atletico have to score at least two goals to reverse a 2-1 loss at home, but Costa will not play because of a muscle injury sustained in Saturday's Spanish league game against Girona.

Costa had to be replaced 15 minutes into the second half of the 1-1 draw at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. Tests showed he has an injury that will likely keep him sidelined for at least 10 days.

The striker scored Atletico's goal in the first leg against Sevilla, but the visitors rallied late to get the important away victory.

Costa has scored three goals in five matches since debuting with Atletico in January. He was signed last year but couldn't play until this month because of Atletico's ban to register new players.

The 29-year-old Costa had already missed one game this year because of a red card received for celebrating too close to fans in a league match. He is also expected to miss the league game against Las Palmas, and it remains unclear if he will be available for the match against third-place Valencia, who are three points behind Atletico.

The Copa del Rey gives Atletico their best shot at a title this season. The team didn't make it past the group stage of the Champions League and are 11 points behind Spanish league leader Barcelona at the start of the competition's second half.

Sevilla, in sixth place in the league, face Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League next month.

Under Italian coach Vincenzo Montella, Sevilla has won two in a row after a string of poor results. It won 3-0 at Espanyol on Saturday.

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