Diego Simeone’s new-look Atlético Madrid side completed an unbeaten preseason in Stockholm on Saturday, as João Félix notched the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Juventus.
All three goals arrived in a 10-minute pocket during the first half. Thomas Lemar was credited with the first, Sami Khedira brought the bianconeri level and João Félix notched the final goal from a sensational run. Juventus hit woodwork twice in the second half and Paulo Dybala made life difficult for Jan Oblak, but Simeone’s men just about scraped it despite conceding 27 shots. Atlético’s International Champions Cup ended with eight points, one behind Benfica for top spot in the table.
The Italian champions were the first to get an opportunity after a sleepy opening 10 minutes and proceeded to win eight corners over the next half hour. Giorgio Chiellini had a far post chance well-saved by Oblak on 11 minutes, after which the Italians created a few dangerous chances — inspired in part by a very lively Douglas Costa.
But Atlético were the side to strike first. João Félix volleyed a quick, on-the-money cross by Kieran Trippier past Wojciech Szczęsny — aided by Lemar’s right knee — to hand los Colchoneros the lead. It would last only five minutes though, as ex-Real Madrid midfielder Khedira equalized with a 20-yard knuckleball that went through two pairs of legs and caught Oblak cold.
However, João Félix would get his goal moments later. Lemar delivered a pinpoint long ball to the Portuguese, who beat fellow phenom Matthijs de Ligt on the run and stabbed home with his right foot. Though the 19-year-old started the match on the right wing, a move behind Morata relieved Atlético’s defense from Juve’s pressure.
The second half had its moments even without further goals. Douglas Costa rang the post almost immediately after half time, and the Brazilian steered another chance wide a few minutes later. Gonzalo Higuaín blasted a curling effort wide as well, then it was Adrien Rabiot’s turn to rattle the upright just before the hour.
Meanwhile, los Rojiblancos went sans chances until academy midfielder Roro Riquelme (who had a good preseason) guided a long-range shot just wide of the top corner on 73 minutes, by which Diego Simeone had thrown on a whole new team. Oblak then saved from Dybala thrice — the last of which a particularly athletic stop, falling backwards toward the goal line after the Argentine sidestepped two defenders.
In the end, Atlético held on to finish off an undefeated preseason, and the team finished with five wins in 90 minutes and one in a penalty shootout. With that business over and done, Atleti’s focus will turn toward Getafe and the Liga Santander opener in eight days’ time.
Atlético XI: Oblak; Trippier (Arias 56’), Savić (Felipe 56’), Giménez (Hermoso 56’), Lodi (Manu Sánchez 66’); Llorente (Partey 46’), Saúl (Riquelme 66’), Koke (Herrera 56’), Lemar (Vitolo 66’); João Félix (Correa 56’), Morata (Costa 56’, Šaponjić 90’+1).
Goals: Lemar 24’ João Félix 33’
Juventus XI: Szczęsny (Buffon 59’); De Sciglio, de Ligt (Demiral 71’), Chiellini (Bonucci 46’), Alex Sandro (Cuadrado 59’); Khedira (Matuidi 59’), Rabiot (Can 71’), Pjanić (Bentancur 59’); Douglas Costa (Bernardeschi 59’), Ronaldo (Mandžukić 71’), Higuaín (Dybala 60’).
Goals: Khedira 29’