UEFA Europa League hopefuls AS Roma and Club Atlético de Madrid took a substantial step towards their domestic cup finals on Thursday night, recording solid first-leg victories in their respective semi-final ties.
Roma, who meet Panathinaikos FC in the round of 32, won 2-0 at home against Udinese Calcio in the Coppa Italia. Mirko Vučinić sped through after 12 minutes to beat Samir Handanovič in the Udinese goal, and the writing was on the wall for the visitors after 40 minutes when Philippe Mexès headed home from a David Pizarro free-kick. The second leg will take place in April.
Atlético, meanwhile, won 4-0 against Real Racing Club in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final. Simão rattled the ball home from Agüero's delivery after nine minutes, with José Antonio Reyes making it 2-0 five minutes for the break after the Santander side's defence failed to clear Simão's cross. Two second-half penalties from Diego Forlán put a seal on the result, and probably the tie. They face Galatasaray AŞ in the UEFA Europa League last 32.
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