A week after falling to Estudiantes (1-0) in Buenos Aires in the opening match of their Copa Euroamericana campaign, Atlético overturned their record in the first edition of the Latin America-based friendly tournament by successively defeating Peru’s Sporting Cristal (1-0), on Wednesday night, and Uruguay’s Nacional (2-0), on Sunday night.
Organised by satellite service provider DirecTV, the Euroamericana pit European clubs Porto, Sevilla and Atleti against South American outfits Millonarios and Atlético Nacional (Colombia), Estudiantes de La Plata (Argentina), Barcelona S.C. (Ecuador), Nacional (Uruguay), Sporting Cristal (Peru), Universidad Católica (Chile) and Deportivo Anzoátegui (Venezuela).
The Europeans bested their cross-Atlantic foes 6-2 overall to take the inaugural trophy.
“During the cup, we went from less to more,” Rojiblanco boss Diego Simeone told Atleti’s official website.
“We lacked the rhythm and intensity we are accustomed to in the match against Estudiantes. In the game in Peru, we were more constant and came very close to playing the way we intend to.
“In the first half [on Sunday], we were back to playing like we did against Estudiantes but in the second half we did very well–were very offensive-minded–and we found the spaces well and that’s exactly what we have to do throughout the year.”
Atleti close out their pre-season against UD Las Palmas on Saturday.
Starting line-up versus Nacional (2-0 victory):
Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe (Insua, 46′); Gabi, Mario (Tiago,65′), Koke (Cristian Rodríguez, 46′), Arda (Leo, 46′), Raúl García (Adrián, 46′) and Diego Costa.
Goals: Leo (46′ and 80′).
Starting line-up versus Sporting Cristal (1-0 victory):
Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Demichelis, Filipe; Gabi, (Leo, 60′) Koke, Tiago (Mario Suárez, 68′), Arda (Aquino, 68′); Raúl García (Adrián, 60′) and Diego Costa.
Goals: Mario Suárez (78′)
Starting line-up versus Estudiantes (1-0 defeat):
Courtois, Juanfran, Miranda, Demichelis, Filipe Luis (Insúa, 45′), Mário Suárez (Tiago, 68′), Gabi, Arda (Leo, 61′), Adrían (Raúl García, 68′), Koke (Dani Aquino, 68′) and Diego Costa.
Goals: Zapata (22′)
- Mario Suárez’ match-winning goal against Sporting Cristal was an absolute beauty.
- Léo Baptistão came on in the second half on Sunday to essentially take over the game, bagging a brace over the final 45 minutes of action. Move aside Adrián…
- Courtois, aided by our defence, put together back-to-back clean sheets.
- Adrián remains a shadow of the player that captured our hearts in his breakout first season in Madrid.
- An uncharacteristic defensive snafu against Estudiantes cost Atleti the game, but fortunately our back line regrouped for the remainder of the tournament.
- Atleti are still clearly in need of an elite playmaker, as, during large portions of the friendlies, there wasn’t any semblance of organisation in our attack.