Atlético Madrid dispelled all doubts concerning their lack of goals in pre-season so far on Sunday, winning by a resounding 5-1 scoreline at German side Wolfsburg.
Raúl García got the ball rolling with a brace, before Mario Mandžukić opened his Rojiblanco account from the penalty spot, and further strikes from canteranos Koke and Hector Hernández capped a good evening’s work for Diego Simeone’s side.
With goals the order of the day, Cholo experimented a little with his line-up, opting to play two recognised wingers in Cristian Rodríguez and Juanfran, who’s right-back slot was filled by debutant Jesús Gámez.
Unsurprisingly, the first goal would come from a Gabi set-piece, the captain’s corner nodded home by Raúl García who got up higher than anyone else to open the scoring.
Both teams had chances before the break, but it wasn’t until the introduction of Koke at half-time that the game started to open up. The Spanish International began working his magic and carved open the home side’s defence on numerous occasions.
Ten minutes after the restart, Koke laid the ball on for Raúl García to double his and our tally, and shortly after that, he played a delightful pass for Mario Mandžukić to round goalkeeper Diego Benaglio and eventually make it 3-0 after being hauled down for a penalty.
However, we didn’t stop there, as Simeone decided to introduce Antoine Griezmann for his unofficial debut on the hour mark. The Frenchman may want to forget his first contribution for his new club though, his deflection carrying a powerful Naldo free-kick past Moya for 3-1.
The excellent Koke soon restored our advantage, curling home the goal of the game almost straight from kick-off, and Hector Hernández added a fifth in the closing stages, Griezmann this time showing his class with an unselfish assist.
With nine days to go until the Super Cup curtain-raiser at the Bernabéu, the ‘new’ Atleti are starting to show signs of what may be in store for the season ahead, as work continues behind the scenes to put finishing touches onto the squad.
One sour note to report was the injury to Mario Suárez in the first half, a freak collision with Christian Ansaldi forcing him off early on. The club’s official website announced after the match that he had undergone a brain scan and would not return with the rest of the squad. Let’s hope for positive news.
Two friendly matches remain now before the start of the season, Cádiz our opponents on Friday in the Trofeo Carranza, followed by either Sevilla or Sampdoria a day later.
Goals: 0-1 Raúl García (“14); 0-2 Raúl García (“54); 0-3 Mandžukić p.k. (“63); 1-3 Naldo (“67); 1-4 Koke (“68); 1-5 Hector (“83)