Atletico Madrid gave the new Internazionale coach Rafa Benitez plenty to think about when they deservedly beat the Champions League winners 2-0 in the European Super Cup in Monaco last night.
Goals from Jose Antonio Reyes after 62 minutes and Sergio Aguero after 83 gave the conquerors of Fulham in last season's Europa League final an easier than expected win over the Italians, who won the treble last season when they added the Champions League to their domestic double. They also won the Italian Super Cup last week but their hopes of a fifth trophy this year were dashed.
Although defeat in the curtain-raiser to the European club season is no calamity, Inter looked poor and Benitez said his new team needed to improve if they wanted to have any hope of repeating last season's successes. "We started the game well with two or three chances and then we lost control. At the end it was too open," Benitez said. "The tactics are not quite there, we've got to work harder. Today we've not seen the team we want."
Aguero said: "It was nice to score but it's the team performance that counts and I hope we can carry it on into the league."
Reyes, who worked tirelessly alongside the Uruguayan Diego Forlan up front for the spirited Spaniards and was named man of the match, added: "We have a great team and great supporters and have proved we can win titles."
Inter's disappointing night was completed when Diego Milito, who scored both goals when his side beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in Madrid in May, saw his 90th-minute penalty saved by the Atletico goalkeeper David de Gea.
Atletico's victory means that the winners of Uefa's secondary competition now lead the European champions 18-17 overall in Super Cup finals.