Atletico humble Real Madrid 7-3 in friendly




New York (AFP) – Diego Costa scored four goals as Atletico Madrid embarrassed La Liga rivals Real Madrid 7-3 Friday in a pre-season friendly at MetLife Stadium.

Costa had a hat-trick by halftime and added one more goal before he was sent off in the 63rd, when both teams were reduced to 10 men after a testy shoving match.

“We started the game very poorly. In a top-level match such as this, we had a very bad start, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “The players are well aware and they’re disappointed.

“We don’t need to dwell on it, this is a pre-season game. They were better in every respect and that’s all there is to it.”

The first meeting outside of Europe between the Madrid rivals proved a dismal night for Zidane’s Real Madrid, who saw Serbian starlet Luka Jovic hobble off after an awkward collision with Atletico keeper Jan Oblak in the 24th minute.

Zidane can only hope the news on his injury will be better than that on Marco Asensio, who could miss most if not all of the La Liga season after rupturing a knee ligament against Arsenal on Tuesday.

Portuguese 19-year-old Joao Felix, signed from Benfica this month for 126 million euros ($142 million), scored his first goal for Atletico, and helped set up two more.

Angel Correa also scored for Atletico, who had run the score to 5-0 at halftime and 6-0 before Real Madrid got one on the scoreboard before a packed house at the East Rutherford, New Jersey, home of the NFL’s New York Jets and New York Giants.

Costa set the tone in the first minute. Put through in the area by Felix he fired across his body to make it 1-0.

Felix struck in the eighth, slotting home a ball that was cut back to him by Saul Niguez.

Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois could only watch Correa’s 19th-minute blast into the bottom left corner.

Costa bagged his second to make it 4-0 in the 28th, Saul winning the ball after a poor pass from Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and sending a pass for Costa.

Costa made it 5-0 on the stroke of halftime, converting from the penalty spot after he was brought down in the area by Isco.

Atletico’s lead swelled to 6-0 in the 51st minute when Costa teamed with Felix for his fourth of the night, Felix slotting a pass through Real Madrid’s defence for Costa to arc over Keylor Navas.

Eden Hazard helped Real Madrid pull back a goal in the 59th with a cross that Nacho bundled over the line.

Minutes later Daniel Carvajal’s late challenge on Thomas Lemar saw tempers flare, with both Costa and Carvajal sent off.

Undeterred, Atletico grabbed their seventh goal in the 70th thanks’ to a superb solo run by Vitolo, who seized the ball from two defenders and beat two more to score.

Karim Benzema converted an 85th-minute penalty and Javi Hernandez scored in the 89th to trim the deficit, but there was little for Real Madrid to be proud of.

“I’m not concerned, but I’m hurt. You don’t play to lose. But we can’t be looking backwards, it was a bad game and now we have to focus on what went wrong so we can try and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Zidane.

Welsh star Gareth Bale — reportedly on the verge of a lucrative move to Chinese Super League outfit Jiangsu Suning — was sent on with less than half an hour remaining but couldn’t provide a spark.

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