EUROPEAN SUPER CUP
Super Cup 2018: Real Madrid 2-4 Atlético - match report, goals
Two goals by Diego Costa and one each for Saúl and Koke saw Atlético win their third Super Cup at the expense of city rivals Real Madrid.
Super Cup 2018: Real Madrid 2-4 Atlético: match report
Atletico Madrid beat Real Madrid in the European Super Cup in Tallinn on Wednesday night after taking the lead, losing it and eventually wrestling it back off their opponents in extra-time. With Simeone in the stand serving a ban from last season's Europa League semi-final sending off, Atletico kept their cool and stayed on course, ultimately winning the game in the first half of extra-time with decisive strikes from Saul and Koke.
It was the start of a new era for both clubs in Estonia on Wednesday night. There have been changes galore at Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid this summer and question marks remain over their identities this coming season. One man who hasn't changed and doesn't seem to be planning on doing so is Diego Costa. He bulldozed his way into the penalty area, headed the ball delicately past Raphael Varane and then slammed a shot home from an almost impossible angle after 51 seconds.
Real Madrid under Julen Lopetegui could not have gotten off to a worse start. Slowly though, they wrestled control of the game back off their city rivals. Marcelo down the left, fresh off World Cup duty and Bale looking to replace Ronaldo in Real Madrid's hierarchy were both causing problems on either side. They were opening spaces inside with Asensio and Benzema picking up the pieces inside.
After 27 minutes, Karim Benzema had Real Madrid level. A ball in from Bale on the right, with his right-foot, landed perfeclty on Benzema's head and he slid it past Oblak in Atletico's goal.
In the second half, Sergio Ramos slotted home a penalty after Juanfran handled the ball from a deep corner aimed at Karim Benzema. Atletico looked like they had gone ahead too early and would have no response.
Some quick thinking from Simeone, however, and a rearrangement in his midfield saw Angel Correa come on to cause problems in Real Madrid's penalty area. He poked a pass to Diego Costa in the six-yard box on 79 minutes and the striker doubled his account and Atlético's with the score level and the end approaching.
With two sides suffering from fatigue and with both managers wanting to win while protecting their exhausted troops for the weekend with LaLiga approaching, the game went to extra-time.
A rojiblanco blitz with two goals in five minutes sealed matters.
The first came from Saul after Thomas squared to the waiting midfielder. It was the perfect volley and sent Atletico on their way. Just moments after, Vitolo clipped one towards Koke and he side-footed beyond Keylor Navas to leave Real Madrid with a mountain to climb and with a miracle needed.
They couldn't manage that miracle and Julen Lopetegui's job just got a lot harder having lost a final to a city rival in his first game. It was the first time Atletico scored four against Real Madrid in a final too, which won't help.
Diego Simeone, however, having lost so many finals to los Blancos, will be excited by the effort and the stubbornness his side showed to stay in the game and fight back to win. He'll know that Atletico aren't far off and if they can fight like they did in Tallinn on Wednesday night for the next 10 months, there will be more trophies to be collected when it's all said and done.
Super Cup 2018: Real Madrid 2-4 Atlético: as it happened
Super Cup 2018: Real Madrid - Atlético live online: match preview
Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid meet in Tallinn, Estonia on Wednesday in the European Super Cup in what is a Madrid derby with a difference. It is the first European Super Cup between the sides after Atlético sealed victory in the Europa League over Marseille and Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the Champions League final. It's Julen Lopetegui versus Diego Simeone for the first time as managers of their respective sides. It's Griezmann versus Bale in the post-Cristiano world. It's Real Madrid versus Atlético Madrid for the first trophy of the season. Kick-off from A Le Coq Arena is at 21:00 CEST and there will be extra-time and penalties if necessary.
As far as team news goes, Diego Simeone can count on all of his players aside from Lucas Hernandez, who arrived back from World Cup duty and has not done enough training to make the squad. Antoine Griezmann returned after France's victorious trip to Russia this summer and has asked to play in Tallinn. He is competing for the Ballon d'Or and his manager says he is "well positioned" to win it and every trophy he can win between now and the end of the year will go a long way to helping him seal his first award of that kind. Gabi and Fernando Torres left this summer and Diego Godín has been named as the club's captain with Koke stepping into the second captain role and while the Uruguayan hasn't renewed his contract, his refusal to even listen to offers over the summer proves his loyalty and dedication to Simeone's project, if it needed confirming.
Atlético's summer has been exceptionally busy and we could get the first look at Thomas Lemar and Rodri in rojiblanco in competitive action. The French attacking midfielder has been under Simeone's watch for a couple of weeks having signed from AS Monaco and has been working hard after hearing about Cholo's excruciating preseason training. Rodri returns to Atlético, the club he played for as a kid, and should take the place left by Gabi and will likely start at the base of midfield. Jan Oblak recently rejected an offer from Chelsea, who were willing to pay his release clause and he will also start in front of an experienced back four that includes Juanfran, Godín, Giménez and Filipe Luis.
Real Madrid are entering a new era. They sold Ronaldo in the summer to Juventus in what was an unexpected move and while that is a blow, Sergio Ramos says Real Madrid won't stop winning just because the Portuguese left. It is Gareth Bale's time to shine now and he has had an injury free and successful preseason under new manager Julen Lopetegui. Luka Modric is the only player missing from Real Madrid's usual XI and new signing Thibaut Courtois is not in the squad as Keylor Navas has a chance to win playing time against Getafe on Sunday in the league with a good performance.
Casemiro and Marcelo were late back to training after their World Cup stint and there are question marks over their inclusion in Lopetegui's first ever starting eleven. This could be a blow considering Casemiro's record in European finals with Real Madrid. It could prove a chance for Dani Ceballos, however, who has impressed in preseason under Lopetegui amongst other youngsters.