Three goals in the last 20 minutes were enough for Atleti to retain the Trofeo Carranza on Saturday night, in what was a tough test against Real Betis in Cádiz.
Jackson Martínez will grab the headlines as he opened his account for the red and whites, and José Giménez and Ángel Correa were also on target on a 3-0 win.
Despite the scoreline, it wasn’t all plain sailing for Diego Simeone’s team, and for much of the match it was hard to see where the breakthrough was going to come from.
The Argentine boss lined up with arguably his strongest XI, but up until the closing stages they were expertly contained by a very well drilled and motivated Betis side.
If not for Jan Oblak, the capital club would’ve gone into the half-time interval a goal behind, but just before the whistle he got down to make a stunning save from a header to keep the scores even.
That was the best it got in terms of chances during the first 45 minutes, but Atleti did begin to show their quality after the break and start asking questions of Pepe Mel’s team.
It was the introduction of Ángel Correa just after the hour mark that was the game’s turning point, with the youngster adding an air of unpredictability to proceedings with his quick feet and clever movement in between the lines.
The opener came just past the 70 minute mark, and it was another of our South American prodigies who found the net. After the impressive Óliver Torres crossed from a short corner, José Giménez rose highest to plant a powerful header into the bottom corner.
It had been coming, although Betis were doing an excellent job of stifling our attacking player and giving up next to nothing in the final third.
The La Liga newcomers continued pressing, but Atleti went on to kill the game in ruthless fashion in the last two minutes, as two of this year’s pre-season debutants got in on the act.
In what was his first appearance with the main squad, Jackson Martínez hadn’t had things all his own way, but did what all good strikers do and got his name on the scoresheet to put daylight between the two sides.
Juanfran was the creator this time, getting to the byling and hanging a cross into the box, which the Colombian headed from a standing position past former Real Madrid ‘keeper Antonio Adán for 2-0.
Shortly after, Ángel Correa added a third with another header, cleverly flicking Filipe Luis’ near post cross into the bottom corner.
It wasn’t a classic by any means, but the rojiblancos showed excellent resilience and motivation to find a way to break through Betis’ stubborn backline and win the match in style.
Next time we take to the pitch it will be at the Calderón in the La Liga opener next weekend, and the signs are very good heading into the new season.