Atleti ended their first game of the preseason with victory and a trophy, in a 4-2 win over Numancia on Sunday.
Cholo Simeone fielded the strongest line-up possible for the opening half. Courtois, Juanfran, Miranda, Demichelis, Filipe, Gabi, Mario, Koke, Arda, Adrián and Diego Costa played a 4-4-2 formation, with Arda and Koke on the wings.
Diego Costa opened the scoring in the 8th minute of the match, after taking advantage of the uncertainty in the Numancia’s back line. He then scored another in the 15th minute after a great through ball by Mario Suárez left him in front of the goalkeeper. He swiftly cut to the left and capitalised with a shot into the empty net.
In the 19th minute, Courtois made a magnificent save after Numancia’s Natalio controlled the ball with his chest and blasted a half-volley towards the Belgian international. The half ended with more opportunities for los Colchoneros, though nothing was made of them.
In the second half, Cholo completely changed the squad, offering young canteranos playing time. The line-up consisted of Asenjo, Samuel Villa, Nacho, Cabrera, Insúa, Tiago, Milla, Raúl García, Léo Baptistão, Aquino and Borja.
At the start of the second half Dani Aquino scored a screamer, his free kick placed to perfection as the ball headed for the upper left corner of the goal. Numancia’s Palanca followed suit, also scoring from a free kick to pull one back for the home side.
In the 64th minute, Léo scored his first goal in the red-and-white from a corner kick. After the match he stated, “I am very happy to have scored in the game, but most importantly to have made my debut with Atletico de Madrid.”
Later in the match came a dubious call for handball in the box by Insúa. Palanca scored his second goal of the match from the awarded penalty. In the dying minutes, Raúl García came close to adding a fifth, but his shot ended up hitting the post.
The match ended 4-2, with a total of five players making their debut. Demichelis, Baptistão and the canteranos Nacho, Milla and Alejo all played their first matches in the “elastica rojiblanca.”
Fans in Atleti-withdrawal will be relieved to hear that Diego Costa showcased the same outstanding form he exhibited last season, and that Courtois is still making the spectacular saves that we are accustomed to.
The team will now be traveling to South America to continue their preseason tour. They will play in Argentina versus Estudiantes de la Plata, in Peru versus Sporting de Cristal, and lastly against Club Nacional de Football in Uruguay.
Villa, Godín, Cebolla, Óliver, and Manquillo will not be traveling to South America with the rest of the team. Cholo wants them to be physically ready for the upcoming season, therefore they will remain in Segovia to undergo specific training regimens.