Atletico Madrid finally won a European “derbi,” with extra-time goals from homegrown midfielders Saul Niguez and Koke sealing a 4-2 UEFA Super Cup win over Real Madrid.
Wednesday night’s thriller at Tallinn’s A. Le Coq Arena swung back and forth and into extra time, with Diego Costa netting twice for Atletico before Europa League holders Atletico finally got on top of triple-Champions League winners Madrid to take an extra sweet victory given all the history and local rivalry involved.
It took just 49 seconds for Costa to rampage his way through the entire Madrid defence and hammer Atletico in front, with the equaliser near the half-hour mark coming when Gareth Bale’s superb curling right-footed cross was deftly headed home by Karim Benzema.
The game continued to ebb and flow after the break, with the energy and skill levels surprisingly high given how the World Cup had affected both sides’ preseason preparation. Although Atletico’s new midfielders Rodri and Thomas Lemar were impressing, veteran defender Juanfran’s handball from a corner led to a penalty that Blancos skipper Sergio Ramos coolly converted for 2-1.
That should really have been that, especially given Atletico’s history of five losses from five previous competitive European “derbis.” But Simeone’s side continued to battle on. With just over 10 minutes remaining Costa equalised, finishing from close range after excellent work from Juanfran and substitute Angel Correa.
Early in extra time, Ramos was at fault as Atletico won the ball at the edge of the Madrid box, and substitute Thomas Partey crossed for Saul to flash home a superb volley. Another replacement, Vitolo, then swept a pass to Koke who arrowed a low shot past Navas for 4-2.
In the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals, Atletico came up just short, with Madrid’s greater strength in depth and experience being key. That the last three Rojiblanco goals Wednesday night were all laid on by substitutes was a sign that, even though this was “just” the Super Cup, Diego Simeone’s side can now claim to be top dogs in the Spanish capital.