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Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010

Atletico lifts European Super Cup

MONTE CARLO, Monaco (AP) Jose Antonio Reyes and Sergio Aguero scored second-half goals as Atletico Madrid beat Inter Milan 2-0 to win the European Super Cup for the first time on Friday.

News photo
Surprise defeat: Inter Milan's Wesley Sneijder controls the ball against Atletico Madrid in the European Super Cup in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on Friday night. Atletico won 2-0. AP PHOTO

Atletico continued its run of form after winning the Europa League last season. Inter won the Champions League under former coach Jose Mourinho, who has been replaced by former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez.

"We have the squad to win titles. Today we showed it," Reyes said. "It was a tremendous joy. To score a goal in the final is every player's dream."

Atletico took the lead in the 62nd minute when Inter failed to clear the ball on the edge of the area and it fell to Reyes, who glided past Maicon with a neat touch and drove a shot into the bottom left corner past goalkeeper Julio Cesar

Aguero tapped into an empty net in the 83rd.

Inter striker Diego Milito's last-minute penalty was superbly saved by Atletico goalkeeper David de Gea.

Benitez, who guided Liverpool to its fifth Champions League title in 2005, remained upbeat despite the defeat.

"I think we played well, we had three dangerous situations in front of the goal," the Spaniard said, adding that he felt some of his players were tired.

"We were not at the level we needed to be against a team that was physically stronger and very good tactically," he said.

Benitez does admit he will have to decide what he needs to change after inheriting Mourinho's team.

"Some things we will need to do in the same way as we did before and change the way we do some other things," Benitez said. "It's clear we will need some time, but how long you never know."

Moments before Atletico's opening goal, Cesar had denied Reyes with a brilliant one-handed save low to his right as the former Arsenal forward cut inside down the right side and curled a shot goalward.

Milito, Inter's star when it beat Bayern Munich to win the Champions League, saw his shot deflected for a corner as Inter started brightly before gradually losing steam.

Samuel Eto'o, playing in a role out on the left, looked frustrated as he rarely got on the ball, but in the 32nd, he jinked past two defenders and hit a low shot which flew just past the right post.

Mascherano to Barca

BARCELONA , Spain (AP) Barcelona won the race to sign Javier Mascherano from Liverpool, announcing Friday that the Argentina midfielder had agreed to a four-year contract.

The transfer fee for Mascherano, who must first pass the obligatory medical test, was undisclosed. Reports had said Liverpool demanded a fee of about £25 million ($38.8 million). Spanish reports put the price tag at £18 million ($28 million).

The 26-year-old Mascherano, who was also thought to be a transfer target for Inter Milan, is a natural replacement for the departed Yaya Toure as the defensive midfielder in the Spanish champion's lineup.

Liverpool had already rejected Barcelona's previous offer, which was described by manager Roy Hodgson as being "very far apart" from Liverpool's valuation of the Argentina captain.

Mascherano was subsequently left out of Liverpool's lineup for a Premier League match against Manchester City and Thursday's Europa League match with Trabzonspor.

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