August 22, 2019
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Joao Felix leads Atletico to 2-1 win over Juve in International Champions Cup

Stockholm, Aug 10 (efe-epa).- Atletico Madrid earned a 2-1 win over Juventus here Saturday in the final match of the International Champions Cup, a series of friendlies involving 11 European clubs and one team from Mexico.

The match at Friends Arena was a tune-up for the 2019-2020 season for two of Europe's top clubs but also provided a chance for young Portuguese star Joao Felix to shine while sharing the stage with the longtime leader of that Iberian country's national squad, Cristiano Ronaldo.

The outcome of Sunday's contest is bound to fuel talk of a changing of the guard, with Felix showing he will soon be ready to receive the baton as Portugal's leader and perhaps even become a Ballon d'Or-caliber player.

Juventus came out determined to impose their will and star power on the match, with an inspired Douglas Costa putting Atletico's Renan Lodi and Thomas Lemar under severe pressure.

The ever-imposing presence of Atleti net minder Jan Oblak, however, was instrumental in keeping the game scoreless. Ronaldo also squandered a couple of chances by sending a pair of shots over the crossbar.

Juventus would soon rue those missed opportunities when Felix showed off his lethal scoring talent twice in the span of less than 10 minutes.

The former Benfica star opened the scoring in the 24th minute with a stylish volley off a cross from England's Kieran Trippier and then nine minutes later chased down a perfectly placed long-range pass by Lemar and half-volleyed it just inside the left upright past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who paid the price for not coming off his line.

Juventus, however, also scored a goal amid that flurry of activity, with Sami Khedira getting the Serie A club on the board in the 29th minute with a shot from outside the area that went through the legs of two players before sneaking inside the left upright past Oblak.

Although no more goals were scored in the second half, it was not because of a lack of chances.

Douglas Costa had the first clear opportunity on a shot from outside the area that struck the woodwork after ricocheting off Atletico's Koke.

In the latter stages, Atleti youth-academy product Rodrigo Riquelme nearly gave the La Liga club a 3-1 lead with a potent blast.

Juve substitute Paulo Dybala also had a chance to score, but Oblak was up to the task.

For Atletico, the win serves as a confidence-booster ahead of their opening La Liga contest against Getafe a week from Sunday.

Any concerns about the team's ability to score without French superstar Antoine Griezmann, who has moved on to rival FC Barcelona, also should be allayed by Joao Felix's two superb goals.

The only sour note for Atleti was a thigh muscle injury suffered by Diego Costa, who had come on as a substitute after the intermission but had to be removed from the game during second-half stoppage time.

Atletico Madrid finished second in the International Champions Cup behind Portuguese side Benfica, who won all three of their matches in that summer tournament.

Juventus ended up ninth, just one point ahead of last-placed Guadalajara, a Mexican-league club.

-- Line-ups:

2.- Atletico Madrid: Jan Oblak; Kieran Trippier (Santiago Arias, min. 56), Jose Gimenez (Felipe, min. 57), Stefan Savic, Renan Lodi (Manuel Sanchez, min. 66); Koke (Mario Hermoso, min. 57), Marcos Llorente (Thomas Partey, min. 46), Saul (Rodrigo Riquelme, min. 66), Thomas Lemar (Vitolo, min. 67); Joao Felix (Angel Correa, min. 56) and Alvaro Morata (Diego Costa, min. 56) (Ivan Saponjic, min. 91).

1.- Juventus: Wojciech Szczesny (Gialuigi Buffon, min. 59); Mattia De Sciglio (Danilo, min. 71), Matthijs De Ligt (Merih Demiral, min. 71), Giorgio Chiellini (Leonardo Bonucci, min. 46), Alex Sandro (Juan Cuadrado, min. 59); Sami Khedira (Blaise Matuidi, min. 60), Miralem Pjanic (Rodrigo Bentancur, min. 60), Adrien Rabiot (Emre Can, min. 71); Douglas Costa (Fedrico Bernardeschi, min. 60), Gonzalo Higuain (Paulo Dybala, min. 60) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Mario Mandzukic, min. 71).

Goals: 1-0, min. 24: Joao Felix; 1-1, min. 29: Khedira; 2-1, min. 33: Joao Felix.

Referee: Andreas Ekberg (Sweden). Showed a yellow card to Atletico Madrid's Vitolo (min. 69) and Correa (min. 83).

This friendly match, part of the International Champions Cup tournament, was played at Friends Arena in Stockholm. EFE-EPA

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