Atletico Madrid have claimed the first domestic silverware of the new season following a 1-0 victory over crosstown rivals Real Madrid in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Friday night at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.
After the first leg ended 1-1 on Tuesday at Real's Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Mario Mandzukic scored the only goal in the second minute of the return leg to give Atletico a 2-1 aggregate victory. Per @OptaJose, this is Atletico's second Super Cup triumph and first since 1985.
And Atletico did it without the benefit of having manager Diego Simeone on the touchline for most of the match. The Argentine was sent to the stands in the 26th minute after an altercation with the officials.
The victory gives Atletico a measure of revenge for a loss to Real in the UEFA Champions League final in May. Perhaps more importantly, though, it sets up Simeone's side for another run at La Liga this term.
After claiming the league title last season, Atletico lost multiple key contributors including striker Diego Costa and on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who returned to parent club Chelsea. But Simeone replenished his ranks in the offseason, bringing in Mandzukic from Bayern Munich and goalkeeper Miguel Moya from Getafe.
Both played important roles Friday, with Mandzukic netting the winner and Moya keeping Real at bay as they attempted a comeback. And both will have to continue playing well if Atletico are to repeat as champions.
Real, meanwhile, will be disappointed with Friday's result, with manager Carlo Ancelotti still trying to find the right combination of players following the arrivals of stars like Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez in the transfer market.
Angel Di Maria and Sami Khedira were left out of Real's squad, with both being linked to moves away from the Bernabeu before the transfer window ends. Cristiano Ronaldo did not start after leaving the first leg at half-time with an injury. He entered the match as a substitute at half-time.
By that time, Real already trailed by a goal. While the first leg needed 81 minutes to see its first goal, the second didn't take nearly as long to get going.
Atletico started strongly and took the lead in just the second minute via an effective display of route-one football. Goalkeeper Miguel Moya played the ball forward from his own box, with Mandzukic flicking on an initial header. Antoine Griezmann then beat Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos in an aerial duel to free Mandzukic along the edge of the box. With his first touch, Mandzukic finished deftly past Iker Casillas and sent Atletico on their way.
It was hardly an easy road, though. With Real pushing for an equaliser, Atletico had to make do without their manager from the 26th minute after Simeone was sent off. The Argentinean was infuriated by referee David Fernandez Borbalan's refusal to allow Juanfran back onto the pitch following an injury, and was spotted laying a hand on the fourth official.
On his way to the stands, Simeone exhorted the home supporters to make noise, drawing an enthusiastic response.
Meanwhile, Real kept pushing for a goal. In the 36th minute, the dangerous James Rodriguez sent a header narrowly wide. Two minutes later, the Colombian set up Gareth Bale, who shot off target with his favoured left foot.
It wasn't all one-way traffic, though, and Atletico nearly scored a second goal shortly before half-time. In the 44th minute, Raul Garcia forced Casillas to save with a rasping shot from distance. Moments later, Garcia powered a free header over the bar from a corner.
The last chance of the first half fell to James, who curled a picturesque shot off target in stoppage time.
Trailing by a goal at the break, Real introduced Ronaldo in place of Toni Kroos to start the second half. But the first big chance of the second half belonged to Atletico. Koke was the provider, curling a 48th-minute free-kick into the box. Garcia flicked a header off the underside of the bar before Casillas scrambled the rebound away to safety.
Garcia came close again in the 57th minute, curling a shot inches wide of the top corner from Juanfran's lay-off. Ronaldo had a first sight of goal five minutes later, but his swerving shot flew too close to Moya, who saved.
Koke had the next chance for Atletico, flicking over the bar from the edge of the box in the 71st minute. Moments later, Griezmann won possession in midfield before rolling his shot wide of the far post.
Bale then volleyed wide in the 83rd minute as Real continued to search for an equaliser. Four minutes later, Ronaldo had a shot blocked inside the box. Real then went down to 10 men in stoppage time as Luka Modric saw red for his second bookable offence.
By that point, it was becoming increasingly clear that this wasn't to be Real's night. And by the time the final whistle sounded, it was equally clear that Atletico were worthy winners.
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone took a shot at big-spending Real in his post-match press conference:
Simeone post match presser: "I'm happy to win the Super Copa. Money isn't everything."— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) August 22, 2014
According to ClubAtleticoMadrid.com, Simeone added:
The Super Cup is a title that many of us in the Club didn't have and it makes us very happy because it awakens our enthusiasm, and life with enthusiasm makes us all much better.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti (via RealMadrid.com):
In the first half we played to a high level, but in the second we gave Atlético more chances. We lost control of play, with a lot of long balls. It was difficult for us and for that I made changes. I changed the positions of the three central midfielders.
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