Atletico wins!
Atletico Madrid's Diego Godin (C), Koke (L) and Mario Mandzukic celebrate with the trophy after they won the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid August 23, 2014. REUTERS/Juan Medina

Atlético Madridcan now add Super Cup champions to their list of recent accomplishments. Thanks to new transfer, Mario Mandzukic, Atlético hoisted their first Super Cup since 1985. Los Colcheros defeated their bitter rivals, Real Madrid 1-0 (2-1) on aggregate with an absolutely stunning defensive performance for more than 90 minutes of the match.

The Supercopa de Espana or “Spanish Super Cup” as it is more commonly known pits the previous winner of the Spanish La Liga season (Atlético Madrid) against the previous winner of the Copa del Rey (Real Madrid). For Atlético, this was their second consecutive Supercopa de Espana final, as they lost to FC Barcelona because of a tie breaker last year. This time around, they were not only able to redeem their performance from last year’s Spanish Super Cup, but they got revenge on their rivals for the UEFA Champions League Final last May as well.

The UEFA Champions League final was the last time these two teams met on the pitch with a piece of hardware on the line. Ironically, this game was very similar to that game. In their meeting in May, Atlético Madrid scored an early goal and immediately changed their strategy to protect their lead. In that match, it appeared as if Atlético would hold on to the victory until Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos headed home the equalizer with just seconds remaining in stoppage time. Real eventually went on to win 3-1 in extra time. There was no Ramos magic this time, and Atlético was able to hold on to the 1-0 lead.

Croatian striker, Mario Mandzukic scored the only goal of the game in just under 80 seconds as he skipped a shot past Iker Casillas for the goal. The scoring play worked to perfection as Mandzukic headed a clearance kick by Atlético’s goalkeeper up into the air. Four Real Madrid defenders immediately went to contest the ball in the air, but midfielder Antoine Griezmann out jumped all of them and headed a perfect pass to a now wide open Mandzukic who was streaking towards the net.

Atletico Madrid's Mario Mandzukic celebrates his goal during their Spanish Super Cup second leg soccer match against Real Madrid at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid August 22, 2014. REUTERS/Juan Medina

It was another physical contest for the two sides which has become a calling card of sorts for Atlético coach Diego Simone. Also similar to the Champions League Final, Simeone was ejected from the game late in the first half and was forced to watch the remainder of the game as a spectator in the stands. For Real, a tough tackle by midfielder Luka Modric led to him seeing red and having to head to the locker room early in the 90th minute, thereby vanquishing any chances of a repeat miracle goal in stoppage time.

Under Simeone’s passion and guidance, Atlético has had a turnaround for the ages. In the three short years that Simeone has coached the Rojiblancos, he has brought home a La Liga title, a Europa League title, the Copa del Rey, UEFA Super Cup and now he can add the Spanish Super Cup to his collection of hardware as well. Needless to say, Simeone’s accomplishments as coach are quite impressive considering the team was 9th in La Liga the year before he took over.

Real Madrid had their opportunities to tie the game throughout the match, but Atlético’s goalie, Miguel Moya made a couple great saves to secure the victory. Real’s new transfer, James Rodriguez who scored the only goal for Los Blancos in the first leg of the Super Cup, twice had open shots, but both were saved by Moya. Welshman, Gareth Bale who has been the best player on Real Madrid so far this young season, had an open shot at the equalizer, but he missed it just wide. Seconds later, Atlético Madrid’s Raul Garcia had what he thought was the game clinching goal, but it shot off the top of the crossbar and bounced outside the net to keep the score at 1-0.

James Rodriguez miss
Real Madrid's James Rodriguez (R) kicks the ball past Atletico Madrid's goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya during their Spanish Super Cup second leg soccer match at Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid August 22, 2014. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Cristiano Ronaldo who was injured in the first leg earlier this week, did not start the match, but was able to come on in the second half and said he experienced no setbacks. Another newcomer for Real Madrid, Toni Kroos, who led Germany to the World Cup title this summer, had to come out of the match due to tightness in his hamstring.

The rumored departures of Angel Di Maria and Sami Khedira from Real Madrid seemed to be more accurate as Khedira was not even at the stadium or in the country during the match. Khedira reportedly was in Germany watching his brother, Rani Khedira play for RB Leipzig. Teammate Angel Di Maria, was at the match, but was noticeably absent from the pitch as he did not play at all in the match.

The quote of the night came from Atlético coach Diego Simeone who needleless to say was fired up after the game: “With $126 Million, we sign eight players. Real Madrid signs two, “the manager told the media. “It’s a small difference isn’t it?”

Indeed Simeone has a point as Real Madrid’s all-star roster of international soccer phenoms looked underwhelming in the two legs of the Spanish Super Cup, while defending La Liga champions; Atlético Madrid have a recycled roster of eight new players and still look to be the stronger team thus far on the new season. Despite Atlético not favored to finish in the top 5 in La Liga this year, after Friday’s match it appears they could surprise some skeptics and defend their title.

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