On the day that Atlético Madrid celebrated its 108th birthday, the club played two friendlies in Morocco.
Atlético B tied 1-1 against local second division side IR Tanger, while our first team defeated the leaders in the Moroccan national league by a comfortable 3-1 margin.
The friendlies were organised as part of the strategic alliance that Atlético officially signed with Raja Casablanca Tuesday morning.
Quique Sánchez Flores used all his players barring the injured Koke and Godín, and made sure to rest his starters. In the first half this seemed to lead to complacency from some Atleti players, as Perea and Domínguez, for example, passed the ball straight to their opponents in build-up play.
But there was one Rojiblanco today who was head and shoulders above the rest, which comes as no surprise as Diego Forlán surely will want to prove a point after being benched in our last couple of league games. The Uruguayan scored twice today, each goal even more beautiful than the other, and was involved in the play that led to an own goal in our favour.
After twelve minutes, Elias delivered a corner to the edge of the box where Forlán didn’t hesitate for a second to hammer home an accurate volley.
It was one of the few chances Atleti created in the first half, although Tiago had a good opportunity just before the break, but he directed his header straight at the goalkeeper.
In between, Raja Casablanca had equalised through Berrabeh. In the 35th minute Quique replaced David de Gea with Joel and, before the young ‘keeper had even reached his goal line, a long ball was played to his area. Domínguez completely missed the ball and then Joel was caught out of position, allowing Berrabeh to beat him with a subtle lob.
But in the second half Atleti distanced themselves from their opponent. Again it was Forlán who scored a fabulous goal, hitting a ball from outside the area. His shot ended up perfectly in the top corner.
Shortly after his second goal, the Uruguayan contributed to our third when his cross took a deflection and ended up in the back of the net.
Line-up: De Gea; Valera, Perea, Domínguez, López; Elias, Tiago, Assunção, Noguera; Forlán and Diego Costa.
Subs: Joel, Juanfran, Fran Mérida, Filipe, Ujfalusi, Reyes, Raúl García, Borja, Agüero, Pulido
Goals: 0-1 Forlán (“12); 1-1 Berrabeh (“36); 1-2 Forlán (“49); 1-3 El Had o.g. (“53)
Earlier in the afternoon, Atlético B participated in the official inauguration of their opponent’s new stadium in Tangier. The match ended 1-1, with our goal scored by Regalón.
Over 40,000 spectators saw the young Colchoneros dominate the entire match, but it was the home side who got the best opportunities in the first half. They gave off a first warning when they hit the post, but after twenty minutes they weren’t so merciful.
Hamzi Flihi was launched with a cutting pass through the heart of Atlético’s defence, and after leaving Mínguez behind the forward calmly slotted the ball past Iago.
The B-team controlled the game and created a handful of opportunities, one of which was converted just after the break. A corner taken by Mínguez was headed in by the skipper, Paco Regalón.
Atleti could have scored another in the second half, but much to the liking of the Moroccan crowd, the score remained level.
Line-up: Iago, César, Regalón, Atienza, Cantero; Sergio Marcos, Saúl Ñíguez; Hermosa, Batres, Mínguez; and Collado.
Goals: 1-0 Hamza Flihi (“21); 1-1 Regalón (“51)