Match preview: Atlético vs. Real Madrid

Capital rivals play out first domestic trophy of the season

Godín rises highest (Getty Images)

Godín rises highest (Getty Images)

A late equaliser to silence the Bernabéu means it’s advantage Atlético ahead of Friday’s Spanish Super Cup second leg, as Diego Simeone’s side take a vital away goal into the traditional start of season clash.

The new look rojiblancos will be returning to the Vicente Calderón for the first time since winning the league title back in May, and can expect a buoyant atmosphere from a capacity crowd on the banks of the River Manzanares.

Kick-off in the capital is set for the later time of 22:30 CET.

After a long summer, a busy transfer window, the World Cup and a typical gruelling Simeone pre-season, Atlético finally got underway on Tuesday, starting where they left off against bitter rivals Real Madrid.

Los Blancos have had the bragging rights over the off-season having won the Champions League in such dramatic circumstances three months ago, but this time it was they who conceded a late equaliser, Raul García striking to cancel out James Rodríguez’s opener moments before.

In a highly tactical battle, competed with all the ferocity we have come to expect from derby matches, 1-1 was probably the most fair of results, although Real were denied a quite obvious penalty late on for handball against Mario Suárez.

Atleti defended with all of the concentration and intensity that earned them so many plaudits last season, and showed their trademark never say die attitude to salvage a draw when it looked as if Carlo Ancelotti’s side had again nicked it from them at the death.

Six players made their debuts in red and white in the first leg, but with marquee signing Antoine Griezmann only a substitute, Jan Oblak not fit enough to start in goal yet, and Arda Turan also injured, it was far from a full strength side that took to the field.

Bar the latter two, Simeone should have a full squad to choose from, although with exits pending, the likes of Emiliano Insúa and Toby Alderweireld may not be involved again.

Press have picked up on the fact that this is currently Atleti’s worst run under Cholo having not won in five – despite the small matter of delivering a league title during that run – and he more than anybody else will be keen to put things right and secure another title, against Real Madrid no less.

The biggest news in the opposite camp concerns the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was forced off at half-time on Tuesday. James Rodríguez, Isco and Ángel di María all had to settle for a place on the bench and would be ready to step in, but the Portuguese talisman returned to full training on Thursday and is fit to start, according to Ancelotti.

“He is available to play and will be able to start the game. All the players are ready but that doesn’t mean I won’t make changes,” he said.

The Italian head coach also insisted that his side are the underdog going into the second leg, predicting a similar encounter to the ones we have seen between him and Simeone since coming into the job a year ago.

“We are used to playing against Atletico and they are used to facing us. I don’t think the style of game will be different, they now have the advantage from their positive result at the Bernabeu but I think it will be the same type of match.”

Ancelotti also confirmed that winger Di María has asked to leave the club. The World Cup runner-up was influential in the Champions League last campaign and sparked Real into life on Tuesday, but for whatever reason appears to have been forced out.

“Di María asked to go in the summer and has rejected an offer from the club,” he said. “The player has to look for a solution. If when the transfer market closes he’s still here, he will work with us like last season and there will be no problem.”

Both teams have the weekend off after the match, but can’t spend too long celebrating or commiserating as their respective league campaigns get underway as soon as Monday. Atleti will be desperate to start their title defence with a win across town at Rayo, whereas Real host newly promoted Cordoba in the Bernabéu.

Simeone will name his matchday squad tomorrow lunchtime, choosing not to do a pre-match press conference on Thursday.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    First, let me point out that the Bernabeu was already silent before we scored, their mouths were full with “pipas” as usual so they couldn’t cheer

    The Madridista press can dig very very deeply to find something negative about Atleti, the last 5 official games in which he clinched La Liga title is the worst run of Simeone with no victories, 3 draws and 2 defeats
    well, we all would love to extend this “worst run” to six games with a 0-0 draw tomorrow that gives us the super cup !

    I would start with Ansaldi instead of Siqueira, and with Tiago instead of Mario, and I would start with Saul again

    Not that I care, but it seems that the one who chooses Real Madrid signings is still Florentino, and not even a big name with strong personality like Ancelotti could take that away from him
    There is no way in hell that James is better than Di Maria, he is not even half good as him, but he is better looking so he can sell more shirts, especially for girls, and he is a Colombian, and Real didn’t have one for a very long time .. let’s open a new market, and let Di Maria who gave us everything look for another club !

    I’m really counting the days that left until this transfer window closes to see Di Mario leave, the man made us suffer a lot, he was our worst enemy last season, and I truly believe that if he didn’t play in Lisbon we would have won That Champions League

    we are very lucky to have a stupid person like Perez at the head of Real Madrid .

  • lolaya

    I disagree. James is better and more consistent than Di Maria. Also has A LOT more potential.

  • Arjit Barua

    How much of James have you watched? Are you basing this off the world cup or did you watch him play in Ligue 1?

  • Meursault

    Who will be our third CB?

  • AndersAT

    James is good and have alot of potential, but Di Maria is great and at his peak. Bad move by Real to let him go. Real have the tendency to just change players with new players basicly at the same level. I think if they kept the same team for a couple of seasons they would be even better. But good for us!

  • Chewie

    Sensible changes you propose. Mario lost a couple of balls in a manner that I believe is characteristic of him – just remember the 2-2 game with Real where this idiot let Carvajal make the last-minute cross-turned-goal. And Siqueira needs to do some psychological work before he can be given a starter place. Maybe meditate and do some yoga as well.

    Absolutely agree with your thoughts on Di Maria – James has yet to prove his class, while Di Maria’s been playing extraordinarily for years.

    I say the chances are 51 to 49 in our favour due to the crazy crowd we’ll have cheering for us.

  • starvs

    Gimenez no doubt, maybe bring in an experience free CB to compete for the 3rd spot with him? But Gamez can also play CB apparently?

  • Chewie

    Yeah, Gimenez is awesome. He has the potential to become a more powerful version of Godin. I mean, isn’t he already bigger now? I’ve read that Toby is about to leave to Monaco on loan, and these are good news since, in my opinion, he hasn’t lived up to the expectations.

    Indeed, according to various sources, Gamez can play CB. Considering that Ansaldi can play RB, seems like we’ve got it all sorted out.

  • Brad


  • Brad

    And Cholo gets tossed because the ref has let the game go to shit rules-wise

  • Chewie

    Not really, I don’t think coaches are allowed to pat referees’ heads.

  • Chewie

    Quick thoughts: I want Mario out of the team, TIago is better and Saul is way more talented. Siqueira is shit, gets owned by Carvajal and Bale time after time. Attacking through the left flank, Real almost scored on numerous occasions. There’s really no excuse for Siqueira – he’s bad in the attack as well. Moya is solid. If he keeps playing like this, I don’t see why we should prefer Oblak instead of him. Griezmann, Mandzukic and Koke look good together. Raul ferocious as always, could’ve fired the header in but missed. Overall nice compact football except for the left flank. I think we’ll have Ansaldi and Jimenez step in for Siqueira and Mandzukic later in the second half. Maybe Tiago or Griemzmann for Saul as well. We need to hold off those god damn flank attacks.

  • Brad

    The commentators I have were saying he was tossed before that
    Edit: or at least signaled to be tossed

  • Brad

    4 minutes extra…

  • Brad

    Modric gets his second yellow and RM is down to 10 men

  • Brad

    CR7 punches Godin in the head and gets off lightly with a yellow

  • Brad


  • We definitely needed a win against los chorones in our castle. Everything is still the same… 🙂 #AupaAtleti!

  • Kris

    But Gamez is so shit from what I saw in the preseason matches.He wasn’t good enough for his preferred position, don’t see how he will be good as a CB alternative. Gimenez is an absolute monster though and training with Cholo, he will be in Godin’s level soon. But, he just needs them chances sometimes which are really never given to him..

  • Adnan Khan

    The team played well and it looked like they have been playing together for ages. I loved the way mandzukic played, he never gave up and was really smart. Creds to him. Griezmann too was impressive. The way he tried to play “the simeone way” was great to watch. A great start for the season. Aupa atleti 🙂

  • Dircil

    I cant even agree more on the issue related to Mario and Siqueira’s performance. I smashed a cup of coffee last night just to show anger when Real Marid could attack easily on our left flank guarded by Siqueira. I still remember the time when Filipe was in the same position as Siqueira is now but he did a very good job protecting his territory as well as attacking. Mario was clumsy as usual and Simeone made the right decision not to use him for the 2nd leg and thanks god we did not suffer from his mistake.