Atlético Madrid got their pre-season campaign off to a good start on Saturday evening, as second half goals from Lucas Hernández and Ángel Correa earned a 2-0 win over Numancia.
Filipe Luís watched on as his past and future teammates secured the (not so) coveted Jesús Gil Memorial trophy for the third year running, after finishing the gruelling annual two week training camp in Los Ángeles de San Rafael.
Cholo handed debuts to newcomers Luciano Vietto and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco in the attacking positions, and opted to play Diego Godín and José Gimenez at the back, both of whom only having returned from the Copa América on Monday.
Jackson Martínez, still finding his rhythm and Jan Oblak, suffering from a minor back problem, were unavailable, but otherwise we saw perhaps our strongest XI take to the field.
The Colombian striker was confirmed as our new number 11 earlier today, which all but confirms Raúl Jiménez likely loan exit given his omission from the squad.
Despite lining up with the big guns though, Atleti didn’t have it all their own way in the first half as the players took time to reacquaint with one another following deserved summer break.
Numancia will have felt hard done by not to have gone in at half-time ahead, but were denied what was supposedly a clear penalty when Godín took down former Atleti B captain Dani Aquino in the box.
Soon after, the Uruguayan defensive duo were replaced by debutant Stefan Savic and teenager Lucas, and it was the latter who should’ve opened the scoring soon after coming on.
After a corner from Koke was flicked on, the Frenchman rose highest at the back post to head the ball home, but was adjudged to have fouled the defender on the line and the goal was disallowed.
However, he wasn’t to be denied for long and early in the second half having switched to left-back, Lucas Hernández broke the deadlock with a superbly struck effort from outside of the box.
A minute later, Ángel Correa added a second on his long awaited debut for the rojiblancos, receiving the ball on the right and finishing in style.
Having undergone heart surgery shortly after signing for Atleti last June, his goal will have brought a smile onto the faces of everyone involved at the club and is a just reward for a year of hard work and suffering.
Later on in the half, Óliver Torres was introduced with the #10 shirt, and his short cameo was one of the highlights of the match as he impressed in a wide left role.
Match goers were also left purring over the performance of Carrasco, who along with Óliver, Juanfran and Correa was said to be the game’s stand-out player.
Next up, as the club’s hierachy look to put the finishing touches onto the squad, Cholo‘s men travel to Asturias for an exhibition against Real Oviedo, freshly promoted back to Spain’s second tier after 12 years away.
That game will be televised live by Canal+, and kick’s off at 8.00pm local time. Highlights from tonight’s win can be found below –
First half line-up: Moyà; Juanfran, Godín, Giménez, Siqueira; Tiago, Koke, Saúl, Carrasco; Griezmann, Vietto.
Second half line-up: Moyà; Gámez, Savic, Velázquez, Lucas; Gabi, Thomas, Raúl García, Iván Pérez; Correa, Torres.
Goals: 0-1 Lucas (“53), 0-2 Correa (“54)