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Atletico's Simeone praises Real's Valverde for cynical foul

Atletico's Simeone praises Real's Valverde for cynical foul

Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde earned unlikely praise from Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone for a deliberate foul that denied Atletico a late scoring chance and potentially cost them Sunday's Super Cup final.

The final, which Real won 4-1 on penalties, was goalless with five minutes left of extra time when Atletico forward Alvaro Morata raced towards goal with a glorious chance to score.

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Real survived the remaining minutes as the game ended 0-0 and they scored all their spot-kicks to become the first side to win the Super Cup since it was turned into a four-team event and transported to Saudi Arabia.

Zinedine Zidane's side survived the final stretch of the game to force penalties and captain Sergio Ramos calmly sent Atletico keeper Jan Oblak the wrong way to convert the decisive fourth spot kick for Real to seal the first trophy of the season.

Real's Dani Carvajal, Rodrygo Goes and Luka Modric also scored in the shootout while Saul Niguez struck the post and Thomas Partey's effort was punched away by Thibaut Courtois in a nightmare start for Atletico, with only Kieran Trippier scoring for them.

Ramos hoisted the Super Cup into the Jeddah sky as Real lifted the trophy for the 11th time. It was a 10th trophy for Real under coach Zidane, their first since the Frenchman returned to the role last March after resigning in 2018. Real midfielder Isco added: "The final came down to the boots of Valverde, he was very intelligent and sacrificed himself for the team."

Valverde meanwhile was named Man of the Match despite - or perhaps because of - his cynical foul. "It was the most important moment of the match because if the play had continued it could possibly have led to a goal," said Simeone, who consoled Valverde as he walked off the pitch following the red card.

"I told him not to worry anyone would have done what he did in his place, he did what he had to do," added the Argentine coach.

Real president Florentino Perez was grateful to the 21-year-old for keeping his side in the match, saying: "Fede avoided a clear scoring opportunity and gave us the chance to stay in the game."

Valverde said he had spoken to Morata after the game and felt some remorse for his actions.

"I apologised to Morata. What I did is not good but it was all I could do. I'm happy to win the trophy but I feel a small sense of regret for that."

Real coach Zinedine Zidane joined Perez in praising Valverde for the selfless act."He did well, it was what he had to do and then he apologised to Morata," said the Frenchman.