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Atletico Madrid 1 Real Madrid 0 (2-1 agg): Mandzukic secures Supercopa

23 August 2014 00:22

Mario Mandzukic’s early strike was enough for Atletico Madrid to beat Real Madrid 1-0, sealing a 2-1 Supercopa de Espana success.

Raul Garcia’s last-gasp goal at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday had put Atletico into a strong position, though they required a first home win over Real since June 1999 to secure the first trophy of Spain’s season.

After a strong end in midweek, Liga champions Atletico got off to a dream start at the Vicente Calderon on Friday, Mandzukic opening his account for the club with the Supercopa’s quickest ever goal, coming just 81 seconds into the contest after ponderous Real defending.

A typically ill-tempered clash saw a raging Diego Simeone dismissed from the touchline only 26 minutes in.

Cristiano Ronaldo appeared despite picking up an injury in the first leg, but the Portuguese’s presence could not inspire Real back into the match, and Luka Modric’s late sending off summed up their frustrations.

Carlo Ancelotti packed the pitch with attacking talent, though wantaway Angel di Maria was not at the Italian’s disposal and Real’s perceived invincibility in pre-season has already taken a dent.

For Atletico, the triumph brings the fifth trophy of Simeone’s reign and makes up for last season’s Supercopa loss to Barcelona.

With Ronaldo fit enough only for the bench, the absence of Di Maria and Sami Khedira from Ancelotti’s squad was noteworthy as both midfielders itch for a move before the transfer window slams shut.

Atletico paired pre-season signings Antoine Griezmann and Mandzukic in attack for the first time.

And the partnership reaped instant reward just 81 seconds in as the Frenchman pounced on slack Sergio Ramos marking to give Mandzukic the simple task of beating Iker Casillas one-on-one.

A scrappy response was interjected by clashes between players, as Simeone simmered on the sidelines.

Miguel Angel Moya superbly denied James Rodriguez 23 minutes in low to his right after fine work on the edge of the area from Daniel Carvajal.

Eventually, the Argentinian boss boiled over as Fabio Coentrao’s trailing leg caught Juanfran in the face and Simeone marched to the stands whipping the home fans into a frenzy after being ejected by referee David Fernandez.

Simeone’s departure perhaps affected Atletico and Real looked more likely to score afterwards, however, Gareth Bale and Rodriguez could not direct late efforts on target as the hosts made it to the break ahead.

Ronaldo emerged from the bench at half-time, but Atletico went close early on in the second half as Garcia’s flick bounced onto the goalline and was eventually scrambled clear.

Garcia again curled wide, though Ronaldo began to come to life around the hour mark, blasting a 30-yarder down Moya’s throat.

As Ronaldo and Bale saw vociferous penalty appeals waved away, Real grew frustrated and Atletico sensed the chance to pick them off

First Koke launched a swerving effort inches over Casillas’ crossbar, before Griezmann dragged across goal after a rapid breakaway.

A Real onslaught failed to materialise as poor touches from Bale and Ronaldo in the final third saw late openings fizzle into nothing and Modric was dismissed after a late challenge on substitute Cristian Rodriguez.

And Atletico held on for an impressive victory, starting the season in supreme fashion as they look to prove last season’s title win was no fluke.

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Guardiola satisfied with three points

23 August 2014 00:18

Pep Guardiola said a win was the most important thing after watching Bayern Munich beat Wolfsburg 2-1 in their Bundesliga opener on Friday.

Thomas Muller put the home side in front eight minutes before the break at the Allianz Arena and Arjen Robben doubled the advantage just after the break.

Ivica Olic curled home a wonderful effort in the 52nd minute to give Wolfsburg a fighting chance but Junior Malanda fluffed their best chance of claiming a share of the spoils by inexplicably diverting wide from a yard out late on.

And Guardiola declared himself satisfied with three points to kick off the defence of Bayern’s league title.

“For all coaches in the world, a win is the most important thing,” he said.

“I am generally very, very satisfied. We have fought well.

“In the second half, Wolfsburg were better. We must not forget that we have played against one of the best teams in the league.

“The victory is important for the head.”

And Muller, who was part of Germany’s World Cup-winning squad along with a number of Bayern team-mates, insisted a bit of rustiness was understandable on the opening day of the season.

“In some phases we played really good football,” he stressed.

“It is clear that at the beginning of the season not everything runs smoothly.

“[But] we can not only play good football, we are also fighters.”

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Vitoria Guimaraes 3 Penafiel 0: Mensah brace inspires victory

22 August 2014 23:32

Vitoria Guimaraes scored three for the second game in succession as they cruised to a 3-0 Primeira Liga victory over Penafiel on Friday.

Rui Vitoria’s men kicked off their season with a 3-1 triumph at Gil Vicente last weekend, while Penafiel lost by the same scoreline at home to Belenenses.

And there was no change to either side’s fortunes as Vitoria forced open the floodgates to maintain their 100 per cent record in style.

Bernard Mensah set the ball rolling when he headed home from an Andre Andre free-kick in the 31st minute.

The Ghanaian then capitalised on some questionable defending by the visitors to knock the ball home for a second 23 minutes into the second half.

Joao Afonso drew a superb reflex save from goalkeeper Julio Coelho as he came agonisingly close to putting the result beyond all doubt, but the destination of the three points was not in question by the time Tomane nodded home from a Hernani cross in the 89th minute.

Vitoria travel to Belenenses next weekend, while Penafiel will look to shore up their defence and pick up their first points of the season against Pacos de Ferreira.

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Blanc has no worries despite Evian stalemate

22 August 2014 23:26

Laurent Blanc insists there is no need to panic after seeing his Paris Saint-Germain side held to a goalless draw by Evian.

The champions saw Yohan Cabaye sent off on a frustrating night at the Parc des Sports, as Evian again proved difficult opposition for Blanc’s men.

Missing talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the visitors struggled to fashion too many opportunities and even came under late pressure from an Evian side who had shipped nine goals in their previous two league games.

Blanc explained Cabaye’s absence for much of the second half had hampered his team but acknowledged a draw was a fair result.

“Evian wanted to reassure and defended well,” the 48-year-old told beIN Sports.

“We were not able to ask any questions with 11 [men], so it was harder to do with 10.

“This point is deserved by Paris and Evian. We did not quite create enough dangerous situations to win so it’s a little bit of mixed feelings.

“But there is no need to worry.”

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Bayern Munich 2 Wolfsburg 1:Pep´s men kick off with a win

22 August 2014 22:34

Bayern Munich got the defence of their Bundesliga title off to a winning start with a 2-1 home victory over Wolfsburg at the Allianz Arena.

Despite looking somewhat rusty in the early stages of Friday’s clash, the reigning champions were soon in control and took the lead through Thomas Muller eight minutes before the interval.

The home side were two up within a couple of minutes of the restart courtesy of an Arjen Robben strike, but Ivica Olic pulled one back for Wolfsburg with a well-struck curling effort five minutes later.

Robert Lewandowski – making his league debut for the Bavarian giants – should have put the result beyond doubt when he found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Max Grun, before substitute Junior Malanda missed a golden opportunity to claim a share of the spoils.

Pep Guardiola handed 17-year-old midfielder Gianluca Gaudino a first Bundesilga appearance in the absence of Javi Martinez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thiago Alcantra and Franck Ribery, with the player becoming the fourth-youngest debutant in the club’s history.

The hosts’ contingent of World Cup-winning Germany internationals were recognised in front of their home fans before kick-off, and it was one of the heroes of Brazil who had the first shot on goal.

Muller collected the ball from a long-range Philipp Lahm pass, but his effort from a tight angle was comfortably collected by Grun.

Bayern were not having things all their own way, and a mistake by Manuel Neuer in the 16th minute almost opened the door for Wolfsburg to break the deadlock through Olic.

The hosts, though, looked like they were beginning to find their feet, and Lewandowski was at full stretch to meet another Lahm ball with a volley shortly before the half-hour mark, drawing a superb one-handed save from Grun.

And that pressure eventually told when Muller got the slightest of touches to a Robben cross from the right, diverting the ball beyond a helpless Grun.

Bayern doubled the advantage less than two minutes after the break as Robben exchanged passes with Lewandowski before sneaking the ball inside the left-hand post.

Former Bayern striker Olic pulled Wolfsburg right back into the match five minutes later with a wonderful left-footed curling effort that went in off the underside of the crossbar.

Lewandowski should have had a goal of his own to celebrate two minutes before the hour mark, but was unable to lift the ball over Grun, before David Alaba sent a potentially threatening free-kick straight at the goalkeeper.

Wolfsburg came even closer to finding the net 10 minutes from time. Max Arnold whipped in a cross to Malanda, whose effort deflected off Neuer onto the crossbar, and the striker was unable to sort his feet out as he inexplicably touched the ball wide from the rebound.

Sebastian Rode saw a goal chalked off for offside and Robben clipped the bar as Bayern sought comfort, but two goals proved to be good enough to see off a stubborn Wolfsburg and start their season with a win for the third year in a row.

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