Debutant Nicolas Gaitan netted in a 2-0 win for Atletico Madrid against Italian side Crotone in a hastily arranged friendly on Saturday.
Diego Simeone’s men had been due to face Galatasaray in Turkey, but the recent terror attacks and attempted coup in the country contributed to the Spanish club cancelling the match.
Instead, Atleti travelled to Cosenza to face the recently promoted Serie A outfit, triumphing through Gaitan’s strike, in his first appearance since moving from Benfica, and Diogo Jota’s late clincher.
The Champions League finalists were dominant throughout the first half, with both Saul Niguez and Tiago forcing saves from Alex Cordaz, and the former denied again after the break.
Then, in the 59th minute, Atleti finally found their breakthrough. Yannick Carrasco’s run took several opposing defenders out of the picture, before he squared for half-time substitute Gaitan to squeeze a finish into the net.
Juanfran wasted an opportunity to extend the lead, but Simeone’s side did add a second in stoppage time through Jota, sealing the victory with the Liga season now just two weeks away.
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