Two days after the celebration of our massive Copa del Rey win over los Blancos, the team took a 14-hour flight to Singapore to play a friendly against the national ‘Dream Team’ in the Peter Lim Charity Cup.
The team did some sightseeing in the days before the match and trained at the local Jalan Besar Stadium, where they also played a small tournament with 120 kids.
The game itself looked promising as the local stars tested Courtois early on, but our skinny giant showed with a great save why this year’s Zamora Trophy has his name on it.
As Simeone opted for mostly bench players and cantera, it took the team about 10 minutes to find themselves. Manquillo had some great runs on the right, Saúl great passing, and Óliver proved why he is first team material.
After making his way past several of the Singapore players, the 18-year-old came just a few inches too short to net in the ball when he found himself one-on-one with the keeper. Moments later ‘el Chaval’ brilliantly controlled a long pass to square it to Raúl García, who was just beaten by a defender.
A goal seemed imminent, as it looked we were there to play. Atleti dominated the game, and when Saúl managed to find Raúl García with a low cross, the latter nicely finished it with a shot in the low corner for the 0-1.
The Rojiblancos kept pushing, with Óliver playing a dominant role and Cebolla making the defence cry. The Uruguayan was taken down in the box, but no penalty was given. After a brilliant tiki-taka combo with him, Adrián, and Raúl García, Atlético seemed to have doubled the lead, but RG8 was offside.
The second half started with Cholo taking off Courtois for Asenjo and Pulido for Cisma, moving Insúa to the centre.
Nothing much happened in the first quarter, but around the hour mark, the team was completely changed up. Nine substitutions were made, with all our stars coming on and it seemed like the Singapore team were trained to play these exact players. Rough tackles were made on Falcao and Arda, which made Gabi and Arda himself lose their tempers. Our captain would be booed for the remaining half hour at each touch of the ball.
Atleti managed to keep possession but seemed somewhat uninspired. The best chances were for Diego Costa, when he was twice one-on-one with the keeper. Falcao was able to put his head to a nice cross from Juanfran, but the keeper miraculously managed to keep the ball out.
In the 87th minute, Diego Costa got what was his when a deflected cross by Juanfran was put in front of the goal by Koke. The ball just needed tapping in, but our beast came storming through and blasted it against the back of the net.
The Singapore squad sought a consolation goal, as in injury time they had their best chances with a 30-metre shot from distance blasted off the bar.
The final whistle was blown and we can put yet another ‘cup’ in the museum.