Atletico Madrid 2
Reyes 62, Aguero 83
Rafael Benitez’s Inter missed the chance to win their second trophy of the season after a lacklustre performance saw them defeated in the UEFA Super Cup by Atletico Madrid in the Stade Louis II in Monaco.
After winning the Italian Super Cup at the weekend, Benitez’s men couldn’t replicate that result on the European stage, on a frustrating night compounded by Diego Milito’s late penalty miss.
Former Inter Coach Jose Mourinho has expressed his belief this week that his predecessor has a ready-made team to win trophies, but tonight’s evidence suggests Benitez has work to do to implement his own ideas.
Inter struggled to find an attacking rhythm in a tentative first-half that lacked outright chances for either side, although the Spanish side were on top. Atletico began to trouble Inter’s back-line as the half-time whistle approached, leading to some aggressive defending that ignited the occasion. Aguero wasted the best chance of the first period when he found space behind Lucio, but skewed a shot wide.
After the restart, the tactical battle played by the two sides started to produce more fervent attacking moves. Atletico nearly took a lead with the first shot on target of the evening, when Julio Cesar tipped a curling Jose Antonio Reyes effort wide, but Inter couldn’t prevent falling behind soon after. Intricate build-up play beat Inter’s defence, allowing Reyes to dribble past Maicon and bury a shot in the near post, where it was somehow conceded by Julio Cesar.
Inter were non-existent in attack, and Julio Cesar continued to be busy in Inter’s goal. Benitez tried to change the flow of the match by introducing Goran Pandev, and giving highly-rated teenager Phillipe Coutinho his debut, but Atletico killed their hopes with a second goal.
Inter were uncharacteristically flat-footed in defence as possession was gifted to Simao, who darted down the left and pulled the ball back for the unmarked Aguero to score from point-blank range.
Pandev won a late penalty to give Inter an unlikely route back into the match, but Milito’s kick was brilliantly saved by the 19-year-old Atletico ‘keeper De Gea. The Italian Champions will refocus their attention to the defence of their Scudetto, which starts on Monday at Bologna.
Inter: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Chivu; Zanetti, Cambiasso, Stankovic (Pandev 68); Sneijder (Coutinho 78); Eto’o, Milito. Unused substitutes: Castelazzi, Cordoba, Materazzi, Mariga, Biabiany.
Atletico Madrid: De Gea; Ujfalusi, Godin, Perea, Dominguez; Reyes (Merida 69), Assuncao, Raul Garcia, Simao (Camacho 90); Forlan (Jurado 82), Aguero. Unused substitutes: Robles, Antonio Lopez, Suarez, Diego Costa.