Atlético Madrid ended pre-season this weekend at the Trofeo Carranza, losing on penalties to hosts Cádiz after a 1-1 draw before beating the Nigerian NPFL All-Stars on Saturday.
Godín’s late goal earned the win for Cholo’s men against the Nigerians, who had scored an equaliser shortly before through Bashir to cancel out Nico Gaitán’s opener.
The red and whites finished the tournament in third spot, but will feel they should’ve had the chance to play in the final after a controversial late penalty cost them the win in the semi-final.
Yannick Carrasco had given Atleti the lead against Cádiz early on, but in time added on, David Sánchez equalised from the penalty spot after Saúl was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.
Replays showed that the ball had looked to have hit the youngster’s chest, but the call stood and the match went to a penalty shoot-out, which the home side won thanks to misses from Torres, Carrasco and Giménez.
The coaching staff would’ve been expecting a meeting with Málaga this evening in the final, but instead we took on the NPFL All-Stars from Nigeria in the third place play-off on Saturday.
Cholo had sent a second string out for the Cádiz match, so played most of his regulars in the second match and gave a debut to Kevin Gameiro, who partnered Saúl in attack.
The Frenchman was bright in attack and was involved throughout, despite not getting on the scoresheet. Fellow new signing Nico Gaitán was on target though, breaking the deadlock just after the half hour mark.
After scoring at Crotone last week, the former Benfica man marked his first start with another goal with a left-footed drive that was too hot for goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa to handle.
Atleti had a number of chances to add to their lead but couldn’t take them, and were made to pay five minutes from time when Nigerian striker Bashir outpaced Stefan Savic and smashed the ball home for 1-1.
However, Godín made sure that we wouldn’t have to face a second penalty shoot-out in as many days, heading home Koke’s corner in injury time to ensure what was a deserved win.
Neither the performance on Saturday or in the semi-final against Cádiz were particularly convincing, but the rojiblancos had control of both matches and probably could’ve scored more had they wanted to.
Our pre-season comes to an end with four wins, one draw and a defeat. Next time we take to the field it will be in La Liga action, Alavés our first opponents at the Calderón a week on Sunday.
What did you make of this weekend’s matches? Does the team look ready to start the season?