No Ronaldo, mo problems, Real Madrid 2-4 Atletico Madrid: Diego Simone's men win UEFA Super Cup - 5 talking points

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toshyno
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15 Aug 2018 23:18

Diego Costa grabbed a brace as Atletico Madrid came from behind to beat arch rivals Real Madrid and lift the UEFA Super Cup.

The former Chelsea striker fired Diego Simeone's side in front after just 49 seconds as he beat Keylor Navas at his near post.

Karim Benzema levelled for Real as he combined well with Gareth Bale in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo to head home.

And Sergio Ramos looked to have earned the Champions League winners victory when he fired home from the spot midway through the second half.

But Costa would not be denied and he finished from close range with a little over 10 minutes remaining.

His equaliser took the tie into extra time and Saul Niquez settled it in style with a stunning volley before Koke made sure with Atletico's fourth.

Here are five talking points

ImageDiego Costa celebrates his opener after 49 seconds (Image: REUTERS)

ImageKarim Benzema levelled the score in the first half (Image: UEFA)

ImageSergio Ramos looked to have won it from the spot... (Image: REUTERS)

Image... but Costa had other ideas (Image: AFP)

1. No Ronaldo, mo problems

"Now, who's hot, who not?"

The era after the Cristiano Ronaldo era has officially begun and it is still unclear just how much Real will miss him.

This was the first Madrid derby since since April 2013 that Real had to do without Ronaldo and at times it showed.

Benzema came deep too often, which was fine when Ronaldo camped out in the box. Now it felt like a massive presence was absent.

But on the other side of the coin, Bale is really starting to come out from the shadow, and his numerous injury problems, to become a proper talisman.

Add Asensio and Isco's ever-improving intelligence and maybe Juventus' gain is also Real's gain.

Goals certainly won't be a problem in the white side of Madrid on this showing.

ImageGareth Bale impressed in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo (Image: Getty Images Europe)

2) So that's why Real signed Courtois

Thibaut Courtois was due to play some part in this game, but Real bosses mucked up the paperwork.

As Keylor Navas will attest it isn't the first time the men upstairs at the Bernabeu failed to get the right paperwork done in time - if they had the Costa Rican may currently be a Manchester United legend.

But the Belgian's reputation was harnessed and any thoughts he might not be a first choice were well and truly put to bed.

Navas got into a fine position to save from Costa, but stay way too low to deal with the brutal power - it would be hard to find him at too much fault for the other three goals.

Expect £35million man Courtois to walk into the starting XI against Getafe on Sunday..

ImageKeylor Navas was beaten at his near post by Costa (Image: REUTERS)

3. Diego Costa vs Sergio Ramos

A match-up dreamt up in the very depths of hell.

The two main purveyors of the dark arts in modern football went head-to-head for the first time this season.

Costa took the early round with his goal inside a minute and Ramos failed to get close to him.

Atleti striker Costa set-up, assisted and scores the goal to further inflate the question mark at Stamford Bridge over his Chelsea exit last year.

From that moment in it was a bruising fight full of elbows, knees in the back, stamps and every other behind the referee's back niggle.

Ramos, as he invariably does, had his moment with his snidely taken penalty - the third European final goal he has scored against Atleti.

But the ultimate bully Costa ended up with a grin on his face with a second goal, a tap in, an assist and the winners medal.

Image

4. La Liga title race hotting up

It is already looking like a vintage La Liga season.

Last season was a cakewalk for Barcelona, maybe too much so, which weakened the product somewhat.

But their title ambitions may need to be put in check.

The Catalans will be as strong as last season, Real have players with points to prove without Ronaldo and Atleti have boosted their squad all over the park.

This showing, on the back of Barca tearing Boca Juniors apart in a preseason friendly early on Wednesday, only exaggerated the quality on show in Spain.

The Iberian peninsula are in for a humdinger of a season, hopefully.

ImageCan either Madrid side stop Barcelona winning La Liga again? (Image: REUTERS)

5. Atleti's summer lovin'

Thomas Lemar would have been the final piece in the puzzle for the majority of his former suitors.

He could have turned Liverpool into Premier League favourites, Arsenal into title challengers and Barca into Champions League dreamland.

But he chose Atletico and it already appears a match made in heaven.

The Frenchman's clever touches all around the pitch and telepathy with his new teammates is promising.

With Antoine Griezmann now a World Cup winner and ignoring Barcelona's cold calls, Costa close to his best and Lemar fitting in quickly, the traditional second team in Madrid may final have the best attacking talent in the Spanish capital.

Keeping hold of Jan Oblak and Diego Godin means the defence is just as sturdy, with Koke and Saul continuing on their upward trajectory.

Atleti have had a blinder of a summer - but will it translate to silverware?

ImageThomas Lemar joined Atletico earlier this summer (Image: Getty Images Europe)


Tosh 👊👊👊😉

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