SINGAPORE: Atletico Madrid substitute goalkeeper Antonio Adan saved three penalties before blasting home the winning spot-kick as the Europa League champions edged out Arsenal after the sides drew 1-1 in their International Champions Cup opener in Singapore on Thursday.
An inexperienced Atletico side took the lead in the first half when Luciano Vietto slotted home a powerful header before Arsenal rallied after the break with a brilliant equaliser from impressive teenage midfielder Emile Smith Rowe.
Paris St Germain are the other team in the tournament and the French champions will face Arsenal at the same venue on Saturday before closing the event against Atletico on Monday.
The sixth edition of the pre-season International Champions Cup tournament features 18 teams overall with matches in Singapore, the United States and Europe. Each of the teams will play three matches each to decide the overall winner.
PSG have already played Bayern Munich in the Audi Football Summit, which is a part of the tournament, while Arsenal and Atletico will play a game each in Europe against Chelsea and Olympique Lyonnais respectively.
Five matches were played in the United States leg on Wednesday with Arsenal’s Premier League rivals Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur all winning.
Liverpool came from behind to beat Premier League champions Manchester City 2-1, United defeated AC Milan on penalties after a 1-1 draw and Spurs thrashed AS Roma 4-1.
Also, Andrea Favilli announced himself with a first-half brace as Juventus eased past Bayern Munich 2-0 in Philadelphia and Borussia Dortmund fell to Benfica 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in Pennsylvania.
New-look Arsenal left out controversy-hit Mesut Ozil but still impressed before they were edged by Europa League champions Atletico. Ozil, who caused a furore when he quit German national duty claiming racism, was rested after his World Cup exertions.
In a rare Atletico foray forward, Angel Correa crossed from the byline to his fellow Argentine Vietto, whose header looped past new Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno in the 41st minute.
But Arsenal struck two minutes into the second half when Smith Rowe curled the equaliser into the top corner from the edge of the box, before mass substitutions in the last half-hour made for a disjointed finale before the penalty shoot-out.
“I thought we done really well under a new manager [Unai Emery]. We pressed well and created plenty of opportunities but just couldn’t put them away,” Arsenal captain Ramsey said in a post-match interview.
LIVERPOOL DOWN CITY, UNITED EDGE MILAN
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp hailed Mohamed Salah’s impact as the playmaker made a scoring return in their win over City.
The Egypt international, who was Liverpool’s top scorer last season with 44 goals in 52 appearances across all competitions, suffered a shoulder injury in the club’s Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid in May.
Salah was introduced as a second half substitute against City at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford and the 26-year-old levelled the scores almost immediately before forward Sadio Mane scored the winner after Leroy Sane had opened the scoring for City.
“He is in that moment but he has absolutely no issues... He came in and scored after pretty much 35 seconds. He had a big impact together with Sadio and played fantastic,” Klopp told reporters.
Liverpool next play on Saturday against United, for whom Alexis Sanchez was on target against Milan in a low-key game at Carson’s StubHub Center.
Sanchez fired United into the lead with a well-taken goal on 12 minutes before Spanish midifelder Suso equalised for Milan three minutes later.
A bizarre shoot-out was won 9-8 by United, with both teams having to recycle their penalty takers after a string of missed spot-kicks.
Ander Herrera fired United into the lead in sudden death with his second penalty before Ivorian youngster Franck Kessie chipped his spot-kick over the bar to give United the win.
In San Diego, doubles from Fernando Llorente and Lucas Moura earned Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs a comfortable victory against Roma.
Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2018