Atletico Madrid defeated UEFA Champions League winners Inter Milan 2-0 on Friday to lift the European Super Cup, delivering an early-season bodyblow to coach Rafael Benitez.
After a disappointing first half, UEFA Europa League winners Atletico opened the scoring in the 62nd minute through Jose Antonio Reyes with Sergio Aguero grabbing the second eight minutes from the final whistle.
Benitez, who has taken over from Jose Mourinho in the Inter hotseat, then endured the further misery of seeing Diego Milito's 90th-minute penalty saved by goalkeeper David de Gea. "I think we played well at the start, but then lost control," said Benitez. "The players were a little tired and didn't have the physical intensity to worry a team of such talent.
"I will have to change things after Mourinho," he went on. "How much time will it take? I don't know. We won the Italian SuperCup with the same type of game against Roma, but we lost the European SuperCup tonight against Atletico. Physically, tactically they were much stronger and had more time than us to prepare."
Atletico coach Quique Sanchez Flores was delighted with his team's performance. "We really wanted this and the performance was great," he said. "We were the stronger side."
In a poor first 45 minutes, when neither de Gea or his Inter Brazilian counterpart Julio Cesar had a shot to save, Aguero was unlucky to have a penalty appeal turned down. At the other end, Wesley Sneijder and Samuel Eto'o were both off target.
Reyes gave notice of the danger he posed in the 58th minute when he curled in a goal-bound shot which was well-saved by Cesar. But Reyes was celebrating just four minutes later when he took the ball past Maicon before beating Cesar at his near post.
Aguero then had a shot cleared off the line by Inter's Romanian international Cristian Chivu before Diego Forlan saw two efforts stopped by Cesar. The Argentine striker grabbed the second goal of the night after being set-up by Simao. Inter's misery was complete when Milito had his penalty saved after Goran Pandev had been fouled in the box.