Costa stars as Atletico humble Real Madrid

August 16, 2018
Atletico's Diego Costa (second left) celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's first goal during the UEFA Super Cup final match against Real Madrid at the Lillekula Stadium in Tallinn, Estonia, yesterday.

TALLINN, Estonia (AP):

Atletico Madrid finally got the better of Real Madrid on the European stage, scoring twice in extra time to win 4-2 in the UEFA Super Cup final yesterday in their rivals' first game without Cristiano Ronaldo.

Atletico got off to a flying start with Diego Costa scoring the competition's fastest goal just 50 seconds in, but Madrid came back to take a 2-1 lead as Los Blancos tried to prove they can still win trophies without Ronaldo and with a new coach.

But Costa equalised late in the match with his second goal before Saul Niguez and Jorge "Koke" Resurreccion sealed the victory in extra time on a cool night in Estonia's capital.

 

LIFE AFTE RRONALDO

 

Atletico's victory over their crosstown rivals had added significance after they lost two Champions League finals to Madrid in 2014 and 2016. Diego Simeone's team was also eliminated by Madrid in the 2017 semifinals.

The loss leaves new Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui still having to prove that there is life after Ronaldo, who scored 450 goals in 438 matches before joining Juventus this summer and helped lead the club to three straight Champions League titles. Gareth Bale showed glimpses of his pace and skill, but couldn't mimic Ronaldo's ability to decide a game on his own.

Instead, Costa was the one who dominated at the Lillekula Stadium in Tallinn. He overpowered Madrid's centre backs in the first minute after a long ball from Stefan Savic, first winning a header against Sergio Ramos and then muscling past Raphael Varane to cut into the area where he beat goalkeeper Keylor Navas at the near post.

Karim Benzema equalised in the 27th minute, heading in a pinpoint cross from Bale, who was able to break away from Lucas Hernandez on the right and curl the ball into his fellow forward's path.

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