UEFA Super Cup Final: Real Madrid 2-4 Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid lost their first non-domestic final after 13 straight wins as the two champions of last season’s European premier club competitions faced off against each other with extra spice added in this season’s encounter as their local rivals Atletico Madrid came out 4-2 winners at the A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn, Estonia.
With Zinadine Zidane having stepped down as Real boss after his fourth Champions League win in May it was time for Julen Lopetegui to start his reign as manager. The Spaniard and former Real Madrid player was controversially axed as Spain coach only days before this year’s World Cup because he had accepted his ‘Dream job’ at the Bernabeu without consulting with the Spanish Football Association.
Coming into the game Atleti were unbeaten against Real Madrid in three of their last four competitive attempts, with Simeone's side a tough adversary for Lopetegui to come up against so early in his tenure as Real boss. His side have gained some momentum recently in their pre-season friendly preparations, with Gareth Bale getting among the goals as Real Madrid try to quickly adjust to life without Cristiano Ronaldo.
After just 54 seconds Diego Costa opened the scoring for Atletico Madrid when a hopeful ball over the top was knocked down by Costa into the penalty area, gaining a yard advantage over Raphael Varane and smashing the ball at the near post past Keylor Navas. The Real Madrid goalkeeper would not have been happy with his efforts as he seemed to expect a low shot and allowed the ball fly over him. Navas who has been the Madrid first choice goalkeeper in recent season’s will feel under pressure following the recent signing of World Cup golden glove winner Thibaut Courtois over the summer and this did not help his cause.
With two hot heads on the pitch it was no surprise when Sergio Ramos seemed to have elbowed his international teammate Diego Costa after only 7 minutes, and it looked a clear red card, but with it being so early on in the game you would be forgiven for thinking that referee Szymon Marciniak only gave the Spaniard and talking to so he could keep 22 players on the field.
Los Blancos, who have lifted the UEFA Super Cup in the last two seasons beating Sevilla and Manchester United in 2016 and 2017, respectively equalised on 27 minutes when a positive run from Gareth Bale on the right wing took him past Lucas Hernandez and swung in a hanging cross to the back post for Karim Benzema to head across Jan Oblak and into the net. Stefan Savic could not do enough to put the Frenchman off his stride.
There were few chances in the early stages of the second half with a lot of fouls given and the battle between Diego Costa and Sergio Ramos intensifying. Atletico were able to get hold of the ball with possession increasing in their favour as the half went on.
Luka Modric wasn’t going to be rushed back after returning late from a successful World Cup campaign and didn’t start the game but he came on early in the second half for Marco Asensio. Rumours suggesting, he is interested in joining Italian side Internazionale won’t go away whilst the transfer window is still open.
Sergio Ramos puts away the penalty after Juanfran handball in the box on 63 minutes.
Sergio Ramos put Los Blancos back into the lead through a penalty after Juanfran inexplicably handballed inside the box following a corner, Atletico protested that he had been impeded, which resulted in Costa receiving a yellow card, but replays showed the right back was unchallenged which made the handball even stranger.
However, Atletico did not stop pressuring their rivals and were rewarded in the 79th minute Juanfran’s good work down the right hand side slotted through Correa in the box, the Argentine worked his way to the byline and cut the ball back beyond Navas for the ever present Diego Costa who just had to hit the ball into an open net to make it 2-2. With the game level after 90 minutes the game went into extra time.
Atletico scored a third when Ghanaian player of the year Thomas Partey disposed Varane on the edge of the area, looked for the one-two with Costa and put in a cross to the path of Saul Niguez, standing at the edge of the area, who’s stunning left foot volley into the top right hand corner of the goal put Los Colchoneros ahead again.
A fourth quickly followed with Costa again at the centre of things as he battled the ball from Carvajal and cut back to Vitolo who set up Koke who was inside the box unmarked and side footed the ball past a helpless Navas. Fatigue was settling in and both sides huffed and puffed with not a lot of clear cut chances for either team, despite Real pushing hard to get back into the game it wasn’t to be and captain Diego Godin lifted the Super Cup capping off a very good performance.
Koke celebrates with his teammates as Atletico go 42 up in extra time.
Scrutiny will be placed on this Real Madrid side as what Zidane achieved in his time there was exceptional but never did his side concede 4 goals in a game, pressure not only on Navas for conceding this many goals, but also on Lopetegui is high and he will need positive start to the league season to make up for this disappointing defeat and to get the fans onside. As mentioned before this is the first time in 13 games that Real Madrid have lost a non-domestic final, and given the high standards of the Real fans, this is a not the best way to start the campaign.
Real Madrid 1. Navas 2. Carvajal 5. Varane 4. Ramos (Booked at 112 mins) 12. Marcelo (Booked at 54 mins) 14. Casemiro (Substituted for Ceballos at 76 minutes. Booked at 90 mins) 8. Kroos (Substituted for Mayoral at 102 minutes) 11. Bale 22. Isco (Substituted for Vázquez at 83 minutes) 20. Asensio (Booked at 35 mins Substituted for Modric at 57 minutes. Booked at 101 mins) 9. Benzema
Substitutes 6. Nacho 10. Modric 13. Casilla 17. Vázquez 18. Llorente 21. Mayoral 24. Ceballos 26. Lunin 27. Valverde 28. Vinicius Júnior 29. Reguilón 31. Sánchez de Felipe
13. Oblak 20. Torres Belén 15. Savic 2. Godín 21. Hernández 11. Lemar (Substituted for Parteyat 90+1'minutes) 8. Saúl 14. Hernández (Substituted for Machín Pérezat 71'minutes. Booked at 105 mins) 6. Koke 19. Diego Costa (Booked at 62 mins Substituted for Giménez at 109 minutes) 7. Griezmann (Substituted for Correaat 57'minutes. Booked at 60mins)
1. Adán 3. Filipe Luís 4. Arias 5. Partey 9. N Kalinic 10. Correa 18. Gelson Martins 23. Machín Pérez 24. Giménez