MX23RW : Sunday, September 20 16:39:47| >> :120:8326:8326:

Diego Simeone hails Atletico Madrid fightback against Barcelona

Diego Simeone hails Atletico Madrid fightback against Barcelona
© Reuters
Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann admitted his former side had more energy in the semi-final defeat.

Diego Simeone hailed the heart of Atletico Madrid after they stunned Barcelona 3-2 to reach the Spanish Super Cup final in Saudi Arabia.

Goals from Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann had cancelled out Koke's opener and put Ernesto Valverde's side on course for victory entering the final 10 minutes at the King Abdullah Stadium.

Yet Alvaro Morata held his nerve from the penalty spot and Angel Correa turned the semi-final tie around with an 86th-minute winner to set up a derby showdown with Real Madrid on Sunday.

All five strikes occurred in the second half and the win for Atletico was their first over Barca since April 13, 2016.

"We played a tough game, we started well in the first 10 minutes and then they were superior," said Simeone, in quotes reported by Mundo Deportivo.

"We always have the plan of trying to play our game, but the opponent is very good. Messi had one more step. When he had the ball it seemed that something was going to happen.

"We talked at half-time and we started with that goal that gave us strength, but they quickly got level with us.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi scored in their 3-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup
Barcelona's Lionel Messi scored in the 3-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup (Hassan Ammar/AP)

"The two goals came and two disallowed (for Barca), and with it a disturbing offensive game rhythm. Changing (Marcos) Llorente and the position of Correa up front gave us more options.

"And in the 76th minute another team was seen, with strong legs, which showed that we could win."

The introduction of Koke at the break was inspired, with the Atletico captain scoring almost immediately after he entered the pitch.

VAR was prominent throughout, with Messi having one goal ruled out for handball and Gerard Pique denied after Arturo Vidal was deemed offside.

Atletico also felt they should have had a penalty and despite the technology looking at a potential handball from Pique, nothing was given.

Barca forward Griezmann was quoted by AS as saying: "We have VAR to help football. Sometimes it helps you and sometimes it goes against you, but it is what it is."

The former Atletico star added: "In the same way I can't explain our mistakes, and in the end they had more energy and it cost us. We have to watch the game back, work and improve.

"I failed to make the pass to (Samuel) Umtiti. Little things like that can result in you losing a match, a league, a Champions League. We will work and that's it."

Simeone is now preparing his team to take on Real, with Zinedine Zidane's team having had 24 hours more rest than Atletico after their 3-1 success over Valencia on Wednesday.

But the Argentinian commented: "We are going to play a final against a team that made a fantastic match, even with the absence of (Gareth) Bale and (Karim) Benzema.

"They responded in a very good way, with a very nice game. Madrid has mobility, speed and precision. They play to win. Sunday will be a tough game."


Click here for more stories about Diego Simeone

Click here for more stories about Barcelona

Share this article now:
Did you know...?
Kieran Trippier in action for Atletico Madrid on September 28, 2019
Read Next:
Kieran Trippier: 'Atletico Madrid confident of beating Barcelona in semi-final'
Latest Sports Video
Sports Mole Logo
Enter your email address to subscribe to Sports Mole's free daily transfer newsletter! Sent twice a day during the transfer window.

rhs 2.0
Premier League
Scottish Premiership
La Liga
Serie A
Ligue 1
Primeira Liga
League One
Turkish Super Lig
Belgian Pro League
Greek Superleague
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Norwegian Eliteserien
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Finnish Veikkausliiga
League of Ireland Premier
Welsh Premier League
Belarusian Premier League
Segunda Division
Eerste Divisie
Major League Soccer
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX
AFC Champions League
Chinese Super League
J1 League
European Champions Cup
European Challenge Cup
3Celta Vigo21102114
4Real Betis21101014
9Real Valladolid20201102
10Real Sociedad10101101
14Atletico MadridAtletico00000000
17Real Madrid00000000
20Athletic Bilbao100102-20

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!